National Day

Unthanksgiving Day 2022: History, Activities

The fourth Thursday in November is observed as Unthanksgiving Day, also referred to as the National Day of Mourning or the Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony. The date for it this year is November 24. On Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, a yearly celebration honoring and advancing the rights of America’s indigenous peoples takes place. You may not be aware, but today is also Thanksgiving Day. Yes, the decision to hold the event on Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 4, was intentional on the part of the organizers.

What is Unthanksgiving Day

Unthanksgiving Day, sometimes referred to as Un-Thanksgiving Day or The Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony, is an annual celebration on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Unthanksgiving Day, which coincides with the Massachusetts National Day of Mourning and serves as a protest against Thanksgiving, celebrates indigenous people and champions their rights. It honors the indigenous people’s tenacity throughout the ages and remembers their persistence in surviving after the European colonization of the Americas.

Unthanksgiving Day History

The majority of us are aware that Thanksgiving Day always occurs on the fourth Thursday in November. Unthanksgiving Day, which occurs on the same day as Thanksgiving, is unknown to many of us. Additionally, Massachusetts’s National Day of Mourning falls on the same day.
This holiday is regarded as a counter-celebration to Thanksgiving Day that honors and supports the rights of Native Americans. It remembers the persistence and resilience of indigenous peoples across time in the face of European colonialism in the Americas.
Unthanksgiving Day has a fascinating history. Soon after the prison was shut down in 1963, native people started making attempts to retake Alcatraz Island. Several Native Americans took over the island of Alcatraz in San Francisco on November 20, 1969.

Before they were forcibly evacuated by the American government on June 11, 1971, several indigenous Americans joined the civil rights movement during this 19-month period and voiced their concerns.
On November 27, 1975, the International Treaty Council and American Indian Contemporary Arts together staged the first Unthanksgiving Day. Unthanksgiving Day was chosen to be observed on Thanksgiving Day in order to raise awareness of the suffering that Indians experienced as a result of European settlers. Alcatraz Island is now accessible to the public, and tourists frequently go there to observe the sunrise, advocate for the rights of indigenous people, and honor their heritage.

Unthanksgiving Day Activities

Attend the Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony on Alcatraz Island to mark the occasion. You could then spend some time touring the island. Verify if supper is being held in conjunction with the event later in the day. You can read the Alcatraz Proclamation, read a book like The American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz Island: Red Power and Self-Determination, watch a documentary like Taking Alcatraz or Alcatraz Is Not an Island, or donate money to the International Indian Treaty Council if you can’t make it to Alcatraz.

Encourage their voices.

Supporting the rights and voices of native people is a wonderful way to honor this day. Additionally, you can support their cause in any manner you can.

Raising awareness

There are no adequate words to describe the pain that the indigenous people experience, and many people are unaware of it. You can use this day to educate others about their struggles and past.

Go to Alcatraz

On Thanksgiving Day, you are welcome to visit Alcatraz Island. You can participate in the celebrations as well as join thousands of people there in mourning for the native people who have died.



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