United American Indians of New England

We Are Not Vanishing.
We Are Not Conquered.
We Are As Strong As Ever.

Other Campaigns

In addition to National Day of Mourning and supporting many other important struggles, UAINE works with other 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.

Watch the MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda Teach–In from 1/11/22

Indigenous Peoples Day MA

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!

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.

52nd Annual National Day of Mourning
November 25, 2021
12:00 Noon
Cole's Hill, Plymouth, MA

End of National Day of Mourning march at Plymouth rock - many people holding banners

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.

Dedicated to Moonanum James, Bert Waters, others who have returned to the ancestors.

Solidarity with Indigenous struggles throughout the world!
We welcome all our relations crossed by the US border & ICE.

In 2021, while some supporters will attend in person, we will also livestream the event in Plymouth and have substantial additional online content, with messages from many struggles as well as music.

ORIENTATION FOR NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING 11.25.21


WHAT IS NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING?

An annual tradition since 1970, 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 Day of Mourning so that participants in DOM 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. Over the years, participants in Day of Mourning have buried Plymouth Rock a number of times, boarded the Mayflower replica, and placed ku klux klan sheets on the statue of William Bradford, etc.

WHEN AND WHERE IS DAY OF MOURNING?

Thursday, November 25, 2021 (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.

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.

PROGRAM

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 have livestreaming from Plymouth as well as messages from Indigenous struggles in many homelands!

Please 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 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!

SOCIAL

There will be light box lunches available, but we will not be able to have a full sit-down social due to COVID.

TRANSPORTATION

We are not organizing transportation. If you cannot get to Plymouth, you can watch our livestream!

DONATIONS

Monetary donations are gratefully accepted to help defray the costs of the day and of UAINE’s many other efforts during the year: 2021 Fall GoFundMe Fundraiser

FOR UPDATES

Please join and check the UAINE facebook group for updates on National Day of Mourning this year. Our website uaine.org will be updated, but not as quickly or frequently. Facebook event, Twitter & Insta: @mahtowin1.

COVID-19 has hit Indigenous communities very hard, and we want to ensure that no one gets sick from attending National Day of Mourning. Everyone must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose – no exceptions!
Masks up! Mayflowers down!

Drawing of Leonard Peltier

Message to National Day of Mourning 2021 from Leonard Peltier

Download Leonard Peltier's Statement

For more information about the case of Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier, and to find out how you can support, please go to the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee website.

(read by Herbert Waters IV)

Greetings Relatives,

Each year as November nears I try to think back on all that has happened in my world in the past 12 months. And I know that in my world I can only see a very small part of what is happening on the outside. For me, this year somehow seems to carry more weight than usual.

I have passed ever so slowly into the world of the elderly. I am now closer to 80 than to 70. The truth is I never believed I would live this long. I was just passed 31 old when I came to prison. It was almost half a century ago. My body is now the body of an old man. And it is harder to try to keep myself from being overtaken by sickness or depression or loneliness. They are constant companions here. I keep them at arms length and I know I cannot ever let them overtake me. If I allow that to happen it will be the end. There is no mercy here. No compassion.

I cannot even imagine what it is like on the outside. I only hear stories and cannot believe half of what I hear.

For me, the best days here at USP Coleman 1 in Florida were the days when we could be outside in the yard and feel the sun. Even though they purposely built the walls so high that we cannot even see the treetops, the occasional bird or butterfly gives a welcome glimpse of our relatives in the natural world, but even that is very rare now.

I know Covid has cost all of us, you and me, in many ways. And I offer my condolences for all of you who have lost loved ones and friends to it.

Here inside the steel and concrete walls it is no different. Constant lock downs caused by both Covid and Violence have made life here even harder than usual. I have not been allowed to paint in eighteen months and we are almost always in some form of lockdown.

We are stuck in our cells for days at a time. It is an extremely rare day when we get to go outside to the yard.

I feel moved to try to explain something that has been on my mind for many years. I think maybe it will be helpful if I say the words out loud.

When we started to emerge from the darkness of Residential schools it became clear that we had to go back to try and reclaim what they robbed from us.

And what they robbed us of was the very heart of who we were. Our language, our ways and our connections back home. They wanted us leaving those “schools” thinking like little non-Indians who would just go along with the program and not rock the boat. Even with all the terrible damage they did to so many of us, many of us did survive them. And then we began the process of reclaiming our culture and way of life. I know that process continues to this day.

I am so deeply saddened in hearing the stories of all the children’s graves they are finding at Residential schools. I guess I was one of the lucky ones who made it home. But the death of those children is so sad and outrageous and I am glad the world is finding out at last.

Back then even our home at Turtle Mountain was under threat of Government termination. I remember how hard my Dad who was a World War II veteran fought to save us.

Over the years we fought so many fights to keep our way of life alive and protect the natural world.

After our family was relocated to Portland, Oregon I took part in the fishing struggles with Billy Frank and his Nisqually people at Frank’s Landing. The rednecks were cutting up their nets and attacking both women and men who just wanted to continue to fish as their ancestors did.

And when they shot Hank Adams it was a very dark time and outraged all of us but we stood strong to protect the Nisqually people. I will always be proud of that.

There were so many outrages back then.

When the land at Fort Lawton in Washington State fell into disuse we went there and occupied it under old treaty law. That was also a hard time. At one point soldiers were pointing flame throwers at us. But we held our ground and eventually they gave in. We put our good friend Bernie White Bear in charge and he helped to build the Daybreak Star Center that is still a great asset to Indian people today. Bernie is gone now as are so many of the others from those days.

Same thing when we took the abandoned Coast Guard Station in Milwaukee with Herb Powless. Our actions might have been unpopular at the time but they led to a school, alcohol treatment center and employment office. The school is still thriving and is an asset to the Native community and the Milwaukee area. Herb is gone too.

So even though the price we paid was very very high, we did make things better for our people and we did help to turn things around.

I wonder if many people understand the events in our history and how connected they are. I was born in 1944. The massacre at Wounded Knee was in 1890. That was just 54 years earlier and both Geronimo and Chief Joseph died only 35 years earlier in 1909. Think about that. 35 years ago now it was 1986. Not very long ago at all.

I want to leave you with some positive thoughts.

Retired United States Attorney James Reynolds did an interview with the Huffington Post last week and actually apologized to me for all the wrong they did to me. I hope that is spread all over the world and I am grateful to him.

I can say that I am heartened and encouraged by the courageous water protectors from Standing Rock to the beautiful manoomin (wild rice) lands of Northern Minnesota.

I am proud of Winona LaDuke and her peoples work to protect those beautiful lands and lakes and her work to offer alternatives to fossil fuels.

Using hemp could fix so many things. It is not something we can fix in a year or ten years but it is something that all reasonable people should understand.

We cannot poison the water that sustains us. All of us. Not just Native and First Nations people, but all people. We have that in common. People should understand, we are trying to protect our homes and our natural lands. Water IS life.

And I am deeply grateful for the courage and Vision of Deb Haaland the new Secretary of the Interior Department. I know she went to Alcatraz this week. That is an acknowledgment that what we did was right and honorable. I was not at Alcatraz but those of us, woman and men who stood up in those days were right. And in other parts of the country we formed our own branches of United Indians of all Tribes. So their efforts led to others joining in.

I heard that Deb Haaland said that the day has come when Indians no longer have to protest to be heard by the U.S. Government. That is music to my old ears.

Our people were, and many still are, suffering.

Anyone of any race would do the same things to stop the sufferings of their people.

I wish all of you good health and happiness in all you do. You are in my prayers and I am grateful to all of you who have supported me or will support me going forward.

I still hold out hope that I can make it home to Turtle Mountain while I can still walk out under my own power.

I remain grateful for the gift of life.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Doksha,
Leonard Peltier

Thanksgiving: A National Day of Mourning for Indians, 1998

by Moonanum James and Mahtowin Munro

Every year since 1970, United American Indians of New England have organized the National Day of Mourning observance 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 truth 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 have something against a harvest festival?

Of course not. But Thanksgiving in this country -- and in particular in Plymouth --is much more than a harvest home 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 promptly faded into the background, and everyone lived happily ever after.

The truth is a sharp contrast to that mythology.

The pilgrims are glorified and mythologized because the circumstances of the first English-speaking colony in Jamestown were frankly too ugly (for example, they turned to cannibalism to survive) to hold up as an effective national myth. The pilgrims did not find an empty land any more than Columbus "discovered" anything. Every inch of this land is Indian land. The pilgrims (who did not even call themselves pilgrims) did not come here seeking religious freedom; they already had that in Holland. They came here as part of a commercial venture. They introduced sexism, racism, anti-lesbian and gay bigotry, jails, and the class system to these shores. One of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod -- before they even made it to Plymouth -- was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians' winter provisions of corn and beans as they were able to carry. They were no better than any other group of Europeans when it came to their treatment of the Indigenous peoples here. And no, they did not even land at that sacred shrine called Plymouth Rock, a monument to racism and oppression 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 survived their first several years in "New England" were it not for the aid of Wampanoag people. What Native people got in return for this help was genocide, theft of our lands, and never-ending repression. We are treated either as 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 history of the European invasion, we are often told to "go back where we came from." Our roots are right here. They 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 state dinner celebrating the 350th anniversary of the pilgrim landing. He refused to speak false words in praise of the 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, cheated, and 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 has been falsely imprisoned since 1976? Despite mountains of evidence exonerating Peltier and the proven misconduct of federal prosecutors and the FBI, Peltier has been denied a new trial. Bill Clinton apparently does not feel that 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 life expectancies are much lower, our infant mortality and teen suicide rates much higher, than those of white Americans. Racist stereotypes of Native people, such as those perpetuated by the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves, and countless local and national sports teams, persist. Every single one of the more than 350 treaties that Native nations signed has been broken by the U.S. government. The bipartisan budget cuts have severely reduced educational opportunities for Native youth and the development of new housing on reservations, and have caused cause deadly 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? When the descendants of the Aztec, Maya, and Inca flee to the U.S., the descendants of the wash-ashore pilgrims term them '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 backs of our slaughtered indigenous ancestors.

Increasing numbers of people are seeking alternatives to such holidays as Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. They are coming to the conclusion that, if we are ever to achieve some sense of community, we must first face the truth about the history of this country and the toll that history has taken on the lives of millions of Indigenous, Black, 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 work for many people in this country. As Malcolm X once said about the African-American experience in America, "We did not land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us." Exactly.