We Are Not Vanishing. We Are Not Conquered. We Are As Strong As Ever.
National Day of Mourning
Since 1970, Indigenous people & their allies have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US Thanksgiving holiday. Many Native people do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims & other European settlers. Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands and the erasure of Native cultures. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Indigenous ancestors and Native resilience. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection, as well as a protest against the racism and oppression that Indigenous people continue to experience worldwide.
54th Annual National Day of Mourning November 23, 2023
Cole's Hill (above Plymouth Rock), Plymouth, MA
Join us as we continue to create a true awareness of Native peoples and history. Help shatter the untrue image of the Pilgrims and the unjust system based on racism, settler colonialism, sexism, homophobia and the profit-driven destruction of the Earth that they and other European settlers introduced to these shores.
Solidarity with Indigenous struggles throughout the world! We welcome our relations crossed by the US border & ICE.
While many supporters will attend in person, we will also livestream the event from Plymouth.
ORIENTATION FOR 54th NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING 11.23.23
WHAT IS NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING?
An annual tradition since 1970, National Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and
highly political day. Many of us fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day (and
have a social after NDOM so that participants in NDOM can break their fasts). We are mourning our
ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but
we also feel our strength in action and solidarity.
WHEN AND WHERE IS DAY OF MOURNING?
Thursday, November 23, 2023 (U.S. "thanksgiving" day) at Cole's Hill, Plymouth,
Massachusetts, 12 noon SHARP. Cole's Hill is the hill above Plymouth Rock in the Plymouth historic
waterfront area. The rallies and marches will last until approximately 3 pm (sometimes later).
WILL THERE BE A MARCH?
Yes, there will be a march through the historic district of Plymouth. Plymouth agreed,
as part of the settlement of 10/19/98, that UAINE may march on National Day of Mourning without the need
for a permit as long as we give the town advance notice.
Although we very much welcome our non-Native supporters to stand with us, it is a day
when only Indigenous people speak about our history and the struggles that are taking place throughout
the Americas. Speakers are by invitation only. This year's NDOM will be livestreamed from
Note that NDOM is not a commercial event, so we ask that people do not sell merchandise or
distribute leaflets at the outdoor program. We will have UAINE t-shirts available for sale
following the march.
We also ask that you do not eat (unless you must do so for medical reasons) at the outdoor
speak-out and march out of respect for the participants who are fasting.
Dress for the weather!
There will be box lunches available, but we will not have a full sit-down social due to
Brooklyn bus (flyer):
Bus leaves at 6am
Location: Flanbwayan, 3116 Clarendon Rd. (Bet. E.31st & E.32nd)
Brooklyn, NY 11226
Bus fee: $40
(#2 or 5 Train to Beverly) To reserve your seat, call 347-730-3620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Yankee Stadium bus info: Bus will board at 5:30 am and leave at 6 am. Contact email@example.com for information and tickets.
If you cannot get to Plymouth, you can watch our livestream! We will also post
information about buses from NY, CT and elsewhere if applicable at the UAINE facebook event.
We have some chairs available for any Elders and others who need to sit during the
initial rally on Cole's Hill. We also will have ASL interpreters on-stage.
Monetary donations are gratefully accepted to help defray the costs of the day and of
many other efforts during the year: 2023 Fall
In addition to National Day of Mourning and supporting many other important struggles, UAINE works with
organizations to do lots more!
Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda
UAINE is also a key component of the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda, which
consolidates the efforts of those working on five important bills involving Indigenous issues that are currently
before the MA legislature to make a statewide Indigenous Peoples Day, Prohibit the use of Native sports team
names and Mascots, Redesign the State Flag & Seal, Support Native Education, and Protect Native Heritage. To
learn more about this important work and how you can help to support it, go to the Massachusetts Indigenous Agenda website.
UAINE is providing leadership in the work of Indigenous Peoples Day MA, which has been providing support
and strategy for Indigenous Peoples Day campaigns in Massachusetts. Successful campaigns have included
Cambridge, Brookline, and more, and we also have a bill before the state legislature. See the Indigenous Peoples Day MA website for more information!
Greetings my relatives, friends, loved ones, and supporters.
First, I want to say how deeply grateful I am that you would want to hear what I have to say.
It is an honor to be with you in spirit; though I am far away. Being my age and having spent these many years in
prison plays on your heart to the nth degree. I am here because I wanted to make a difference for our people,
and I want to encourage others to do the same.
My heart has not changed, and my intentions have not changed. The love and faith I have in our future generation
All the world now faces the same challenges that our people foretold regarding climate damage being caused by
who take more than they need, dismissing the teachings of our fathers, and the knowledge of countless
living upon the earth in harmony.
I may sound a bit dramatic and sensitive but after all these years and the 78 journeys around the sun, I
and think that I should speak my mind and heart to whomever I can whenever I can, because at my age, you
if you are going to live another 20 years or 20 minutes.
Our people have been through a lot; generations have been imprisoned, beaten, murdered, dispossessed of our
and they fought so we might live.
We are proud of our ancestors. I have tried to make the best of my time upon the earth, in my given
To say the least, this has not been an enjoyable life journey, but I am proud to have been given a chance to
for our people. I encourage you to do the same.
I am not a speaker, but I have spoken, I am not a leader, but I have led. Having said this; knowing what I
feeling what I've felt, seeing what I've seen and hearing what I have heard, I would do it all over again.
our ancestors loved a future for us, I love all people who have walked upon this earth. I recognize her as
greatest manifestation of the Creator, and she should be recognized as such.
On this day of "mourning" I encourage you, with a hopeful heart, to continue to gather and have ceremony in
remembrance of all our people, especially those who have given their lives so that we might live.
Each of you has within you the potential to make a difference in the world. Each one of you has the
ability to do one act of kindness to someone in need and one act to make the earth a better place for all
with the help of others, have started a Food Forest Movement. We encourage all people throughout the earth
at least one fruit bearing tree; so, that the animals and all creatures of the earth will have healthier
better air and cleaner water.
Forgive me if I have said too much or too little. Time in this place is often irrelevant to the task at hand.
the Creator bless you, your families and all our peoples of like mind.
Every year since 1970, United American Indians of New England have organized the National Day of Mourning
in Plymouth at noon on Thanksgiving Day. Every year, hundreds of Native people and our supporters from all four
directions join us. Every year, including this year, Native people from throughout the Americas will speak the
about our history and about current issues and struggles we are involved in.
Why do hundreds of people stand out in the cold rather than sit home eating turkey and watching football? Do we
something against a harvest festival?
Of course not. But Thanksgiving in this country -- and in particular in Plymouth --is much more than a harvest
festival. It is a celebration of the pilgrim mythology.
According to this mythology, the pilgrims arrived, the Native people fed them and welcomed them, the Indians
faded into the background, and everyone lived happily ever after.
The pilgrims are glorified and mythologized because the circumstances of the first English-speaking colony
Jamestown were frankly too ugly (for example, they turned to cannibalism to survive) to hold up as an
national myth. The pilgrims did not find an empty land any more than Columbus "discovered"
inch of this land is Indian land. The pilgrims (who did not even call themselves pilgrims) did not come here
religious freedom; they already had that in Holland. They came here as part of a commercial venture. They
sexism, racism, anti-lesbian and gay bigotry, jails, and the class system to these shores. One of the very
things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod -- before they even made it to Plymouth -- was to rob
at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians' winter provisions of corn and beans as they were able to
They were no better than any other group of Europeans when it came to their treatment of the Indigenous
here. And no, they did not even land at that sacred shrine called Plymouth Rock, a monument to racism and
which we are proud to say we buried in 1995.
The first official "Day of Thanksgiving" was proclaimed in 1637 by Governor Winthrop. He did so to
celebrate the safe return of men from the Massachusetts Bay Colony who had gone to Mystic, Connecticut to
participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot women, children, and men.
About the only true thing in the whole mythology is that these pitiful European strangers would not have
their first several years in "New England" were it not for the aid of Wampanoag people. What
got in return for this help was genocide, theft of our lands, and never-ending repression. We are treated
quaint relics from the past, or are, to most people, virtually invisible.
When we dare to stand up for our rights, we are considered unreasonable. When we speak the truth about the
of the European invasion, we are often told to "go back where we came from." Our roots are right
do not extend across any ocean.
National Day of Mourning began in 1970 when a Wampanoag man, Wamsutta Frank James, was asked to speak at a
dinner celebrating the 350th anniversary of the pilgrim landing. He refused to speak false words in praise
white man for bringing civilization to us poor heathens. Native people from throughout the Americas came to
Plymouth, where they mourned their forebears who had been sold into slavery, burned alive, massacred,
mistreated since the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620.
But the commemoration of National Day of Mourning goes far beyond the circumstances of 1970.
Can we give thanks as we remember Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier, who was framed up by the FBI and
been falsely imprisoned since 1976? Despite mountains of evidence exonerating Peltier and the proven
federal prosecutors and the FBI, Peltier has been denied a new trial. Bill Clinton apparently does not feel
particular pain and has refused to grant clemency to this innocent man.
To Native people, the case of Peltier is one more ordeal in a litany of wrongdoings committed by the U.S.
government against us. While the media in New England present images of the "Pequot miracle" in
Connecticut, the vast majority of Native people continue to live in the most abysmal poverty.
Can we give thanks for the fact that, on many reservations, unemployment rates surpass fifty percent? Our
expectancies are much lower, our infant mortality and teen suicide rates much higher, than those of white
Racist stereotypes of Native people, such as those perpetuated by the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves,
countless local and national sports teams, persist. Every single one of the more than 350 treaties that
nations signed has been broken by the U.S. government. The bipartisan budget cuts have severely reduced
opportunities for Native youth and the development of new housing on reservations, and have caused cause
cutbacks in health-care and other necessary services.
Are we to give thanks for being treated as unwelcome in our own country?
Or perhaps we are expected to give thanks for the war that is being waged by the Mexican government against
Indigenous peoples there, with the military aid of the U.S. in the form of helicopters and other equipment?
descendants of the Aztec, Maya, and Inca flee to the U.S., the descendants of the wash-ashore pilgrims term
'illegal aliens" and hunt them down.
We object to the "Pilgrim Progress" parade and to what goes on in Plymouth because they are making
millions of tourist dollars every year from the false pilgrim mythology. That money is being made off the
our slaughtered indigenous ancestors.
Increasing numbers of people are seeking alternatives to such holidays as Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. They
coming to the conclusion that, if we are ever to achieve some sense of community, we must first face the
the history of this country and the toll that history has taken on the lives of millions of Indigenous,
Latino, Asian, and poor and working class white people.
The myth of Thanksgiving, served up with dollops of European superiority and manifest destiny, just does not
for many people in this country. As Malcolm X once said about the African-American experience in America,
did not land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us." Exactly.