Mourning instead of celebrating: How Native Americans mark Thanksgiving

Junie Sihlangu
Nov 23, 2018
02:34 P.M.

While most Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day with feasts and family, Native Americans have nothing to celebrate. On the day they observe the National Day of Mourning.


For the 49th year, the group gathered at noon in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts. This is the town where the Pilgrims settled when they arrived.

For Thursday’s National Day of Mourning, Native Americans recalled the disease, racism, and oppression that the European settlers brought. The people responsible for hosting the event were the United American Indians of New England.

A co-leader of the group Moonanum James explained:

"Native people have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims."


For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. During the event, attendees beat drums, offered prayers, and gave public speeches.

The group also expressed their solidarity with refugees from Latin America who were being denied entry to the US. At the event, they also condemn pipeline projects and fracking.


Native Americans believed that fracking needlessly and recklessly degrades the environment. In 1492, Americans colonized by the European colonization of the Americas.

Their population declined immensely due to introduced diseases, warfare, and slavery. After the United States was founded, many Natives were subjected to warfare, removals, and one-sided treaties.


These people continued to suffer from discriminatory government policies all the way into the 21st century. In a 2004, report, the US Commission on Civil Rights delved into the suffering that Natives faced and still face.

They stated:

“It has long been recognized that Native Americans are dying of diabetes, alcoholism, tuberculosis, suicide, and other health conditions at shocking rates. Beyond disturbingly high mortality rates, Native Americans also suffer a significantly lower health status and disproportionate rates of disease compared with all other Americans.”


As a way of spreading the truth about Thanksgiving, a group of six Native American girls released a powerful video. The footage can be found here.

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