The National Day of Mourning takes place on the fourth Thursday of November. If this date sounds familiar to you, it is because the fourth Thursday of November also coincides with Thanksgiving in the U.S. Every year on the National Day of Mourning, a number of Native American people in New England gather together to protest. To them, Thanksgiving serves as a reminder of the unjust treatment that Native Americans have received since the first pilgrims came over from England.
National Day of Mourning - History
No permit needed
UAINE received permission from local authorities to march in protest without having to obtain a permit.
Protests got violent
State troopers used force against protestors who gathered together to observe the 28th annual National Day of Mourning.
National Day of Mourning began
The first annual protest for the National Day of Mourning took place.
The first pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock.
How to Observe National Day of Mourning
1. Brush up on your history
Do you know much about the first Thanksgiving? Do some research online (from credible sources, of course), stop by your local library, or watch a documentary that will help give you a better understanding of what Native Americans actually went through.
2. Learn more about the United American Indians of New England (UAINE)
The United American Indians of New England are responsible for helping the National Day of Mourning protest take shape. To observe this important day, take some time to learn about about the UAINE. It's a fascinating organization that has done a great deal to promote better treatment for the Native American people.
3. Attend a protest on the National Day of Mourning
Protestors gather together on Cole's Hill, a location overlooking Plymouth Rock, in Massachusetts. Everyone is welcome to observe these protests, and recently, other minority groups have started to become involved in the events of this day.
4 Reasons To Thank Native Americans
1. They've been here a while
Native Americans have existed in what is now known as the United States since 12,000 BC.
2. Thank you for your service
Although they were not considered American citizens, over 8,000 Native Americans served in the military in World War I.
3. Your great-grandma is who?
Many of the first families who settled in Virginia trace their roots directly back to Pocahontas.
4. An important vocabulary lesson
A bunch of Native American words have made their way into the English language; for example, coyote, tomato, poncho, potato, and chia.
Why National Day of Mourning is Important
A. It serves as an important history lesson
In school, textbooks often glaze over the unjust treatment of Native Americans. The National Day of Mourning, however, is a reminder that the people native to the Americas have been the recipients of a great deal of unfair treatment. It's important to discuss.
B. It's a time to come together
For protestors, the National Day of Mourning serves as a time to rally together to advocate for what they believe in. The United American Indians of New England — the group that organizes the protest — has done an excellent job improving relations between the government and native people.
C. It shifts our attention away from turkey
Yes, Thanksgiving can be a great day filled with tons of good food and time spent with loving family and friends. However, the mission behind the National Day of Mourning is to highlight that the Thanksgiving holiday is actually quite painful for some people. For quite a few Native Americans in New England, Thanksgiving marks a time when their ancestors were treated poorly.