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
Cole's Hill, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
There will be light box lunches available, but we will not be able to have a full sit-down social due to COVID.
We are not organizing transportation. If you cannot get to Plymouth, you can watch our livestream!
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
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!
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.
Greetings my relatives, friends, loved ones, and supporters.
First of all, I want to thank you for the privilege of being allowed to express my feelings about this “Day of Mourning” as we call it, and “Day of Thanksgiving” as the rest of the US calls it. Sometimes I’m at a loss for words to express all the thoughts I have going on in my head after 45 years of imprisonment.
I do want to express my appreciation for our ancestors before us, who fought so hard that we would live today. I want to express my feelings of remembrance for the ones who were overpowered by the weapons of war coming from Europe and the pandemics they faced. Though we have been attacked by the invaders from Europe, over and over in every way possible, and everything that has been done to destroy us, our culture, and traditions, we still survived until today because we are an expression of the Creator’s Will and an expression of the Creator’s Truth. We are a manifestation of that truth, that all mankind should live within the boundaries of those laws.
We must unite and work together every chance we can and embrace all others who are of like-mind and willing to work to correct this worldwide pandemic of greed and selfishness that has infected the whole earth and mankind.
On this Day of Mourning, let us again remember our relatives before us, who fought every challenge imaginable that we might survive, and in our prayers say “Thanks for not giving up. Thanks for giving your lives that we might live.” And to all of you out there, I want to say thanks for not giving up on me and my quest for freedom. May the Creator bless you in every way. You brother always, in all ways.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and Resistance,
In addition to National Day of Mourning and supporting many other important struggles, UAINE works with other organizations to do lots more!
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!
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.
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 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.