CNN Video: For many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning

United American Indians of New England host 50th National Day of Mourning

The United American Indians of New England is hosting the 50th National Day of Mourning on Thursday.

The event is held every Thanksgiving in at Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the first European immigrants settled almost 400 years ago. Participants gather at Cole's Hill, where a statue of Wampanoag leader Ousamequin stands.

"We Native people have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims," UAINE co-leader Moonanum James said on Tuesday. "We want to educate people so that they understand the stories we all learned in school about the first thanksgiving are nothing but lies."

"Wampanoag and other Indigenous people have certainly not lived happily ever after since the arrival of the Pilgrims," added James, whose Wampanoag ancestors in Massachusetts were the first to feel the impacts of colonization -- #NDOM2019 comes ahead of the 400th anniversary of the colonization of Plymouth.

"To us, Thanksgiving is a Day of Mourning, because we remember the millions of our ancestors who were murdered by uninvited European colonists such as the Pilgrims," James said.

"Today, we and many Indigenous people around the country say 'No Thanks, No Giving,'" James concluded.

After meeting at Cole's Hill, participants will march through the historic district of Plymouth. They will also host a program, with this year's dedicated to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirit people.

“We will mourn and honor the thousands of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & Two-Spirits (#MMIWG2S)," UAINE co-leader Mahtowin Munro said on Tuesday.

Solidarity with Indigenous peoples across the Americas is another theme, Munro said. She highlighted the recent ouster of Evo Morales from Bolivia, where he had been the first Indigenous person to serve as president.

"We will express our solidarity with the Indigenous people of Bolivia who are suffering as a result of the US-backed coup there," said Munro , who is Lakota.

#NDOM2019 also focuses on Indigenous migration, Munro said. The U.S. government, under the policies of Republican President Donald Trump, has made it harder for Indigenous peoples to cross the border and has punished them by separating children from their families.

“Once again, the inhuman actions of the U.S. government will compel us to express our solidarity with refugees who are being denied entry, especially our Indigenous relatives from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and other countries who are fleeing largely because of U.S. policies that have destroyed their countries, and who are having their children stolen from them by ICE and other US agencies," Munro said.

"Indigenous people here know too well for generations what it means to have our families separated as a result of government policies such as residential schools and removal of Native children to white homes, and we will continue to raise our voices in protest of what ICE is doing," Munro concluded.

Read More on the Story
No thanks: Native Americans to hold 50th gathering of grief (The Associated Press November 26, 2019)
For many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning (CNN November 24, 2019)

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Philip Deloria: The Invention of Thanksgiving (The New Yorker November 18, 2019)

National Day of Mourning - #NDOM2019
"Since 1970, Native Americans and our supporters have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience."
-- United American Indians of New England,

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