Highlighted Dates

National Day of Mourning

Date Pattern: Fourth Thursday of November

The

National Day of Mourning: Reflecting on Native American StrugglesIn the United States, there is a day set aside to remember and honor the struggles and sacrifices of Native Americans. This day, known as the

National Day of Mourning, serves as a powerful reminder of the injustices faced by Indigenous peoples throughout history. In this article, we will explore the significance of this day, delve into the history of Native American struggles, and shed light on the efforts of organizations like the

United American Indians of New England (UAINE) in advocating for justice.

Let us embark on this educational journey to better understand and appreciate the rich Native American heritage.

National Day of Mourning

On this day, people across the country gather to mourn the loss of Native American lives and acknowledge the ongoing challenges faced by Indigenous communities. The

National Day of Mourning, marked annually on the fourth Thursday of November, coincides with Thanksgiving, a holiday that has a complex history rooted in the colonization and mistreatment of Native Americans.

National Day of Mourning

The

National Day of Mourning is not a holiday like Thanksgiving but a solemn observance. Its origins can be traced back to 1970 when a group of Native Americans in Massachusetts decided to counter the popular narrative surrounding Thanksgiving.

They sought to raise awareness about the historical and ongoing injustices suffered by Native Americans and to protest the misrepresentation of their culture. Today, the

National Day of Mourning continues to be a time for reflection, solidarity, and activism.

Native American History and Struggles

Native American history is one filled with struggle, resilience, and cultural preservation in the face of adversity. From the devastating impact of European colonization to the forced assimilation policies of the United States government, Native American communities have been deeply affected by systemic injustices.

The

National Day of Mourning serves as a necessary reminder of these struggles and the need for continued advocacy and support.

United American Indians of New England (UAINE)

One organization at the forefront of the fight for Native American rights is the

United American Indians of New England (UAINE). Founded in 1970, UAINE has been instrumental in organizing and hosting the

National Day of Mourning observance in Plymouth, Massachusetts. History of

National Day of Mourning and UAINE

The history of the

National Day of Mourning is closely intertwined with UAINE’s activism. Initially, UAINE sought to protest the Mayflower 350th anniversary celebrations in Plymouth in 1970, highlighting the erasure of Native American experiences and the devastating impact of colonization.

Over the years, UAINE expanded its efforts, advocating for the rights of Native Americans and political prisoners.

Political Prisoners and Advocacy

UAINE’s commitment to justice extends beyond the

National Day of Mourning. The organization also works tirelessly to support political prisoners, individuals who were incarcerated for their activism on behalf of Native American rights.

By raising awareness about their cases and providing support, UAINE aims to shed light on the often overlooked struggles faced by those who fight for Indigenous rights. Conclusion:

By delving into the significance of the

National Day of Mourning and shedding light on Native American struggles, we can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by Indigenous communities. Organizations like UAINE continue to amplify these issues, advocating for justice and supporting political prisoners.

The

National Day of Mourning serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of recognizing and addressing the historical and ongoing injustices faced by Native Americans.

Wamsutta and the Aquinnah Wampanoag

Wamsutta and the Department of Commerce and Development

Within the context of the

National Day of Mourning, it is important to highlight the contributions and struggles of specific Native American individuals and communities. One such figure is Wamsutta, a leader of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe.

Wamsutta played a pivotal role in advocating for tribal rights and challenging the prevailing narratives of Native American history. The Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe, located on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, faced numerous challenges throughout history.

In the 1970s, the tribe sought to establish a Department of Commerce and Development to address socio-economic disparities and promote self-sufficiency. By focusing on education, business development, and cultural preservation, the Aquinnah Wampanoag aimed to create a sustainable future for their community.

Wamsutta’s leadership was instrumental in spearheading these initiatives and drawing attention to the ongoing struggles faced by Indigenous peoples. Racism, Oppression, and Spiritual Remembrance

The

National Day of Mourning is not only a time to reflect on the struggles faced by Native Americans but also an opportunity to confront the ongoing racism and oppression that persists in society. Native American communities have endured centuries of systemic discrimination, and the

National Day of Mourning serves as a platform to raise awareness of these issues. Alongside the acknowledgment of historical injustices, spiritual remembrance is a significant aspect of the

National Day of Mourning. Native American spirituality is deeply connected to the land, ancestry, and the overall well-being of communities.

This day provides an opportunity for Indigenous individuals and allies to honor their spiritual beliefs and create a space for healing and understanding.

Coles Hill and the Truth About History

Location – Coles Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Coles Hill, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, holds historical significance in the context of the

National Day of Mourning. During the observance, participants often gather at this site, which overlooks Plymouth Harbor, as a symbol of resistance and remembrance.

Standing before the monument dedicated to the Pilgrims, attendees highlight the need to recognize the true history of colonization and its impact on Native American communities. Speakers, March, and the Truth About History

At the

National Day of Mourning, a diverse array of speakers share their perspectives and experiences, shedding light on the harsh realities faced by Indigenous peoples. These speakers aim to educate and challenge the prevailing narratives surrounding Thanksgiving and Native American history.

They emphasize the importance of acknowledging the truth about colonization, the violence inflicted upon Native American communities, and the ongoing struggle for justice. A key component of the

National Day of Mourning is the march that follows the speaking program. Participants walk through the streets of Plymouth, raising awareness about the misrepresentation of Native American history and demanding a more accurate and inclusive narrative.

The march serves as a powerful visual representation of the collective effort to dismantle systemic racism and foster understanding. In conclusion, the

National Day of Mourning provides a crucial platform for education and advocacy surrounding Native American struggles. It allows for the remembrance of historical injustices and the recognition of ongoing challenges faced by Indigenous communities.

Through the stories of individuals like Wamsutta and the presence of sites like Coles Hill, the truth about Native American history can be brought to light. By amplifying voices, challenging false narratives, and demanding justice, the

National Day of Mourning plays a vital role in promoting awareness, understanding, and change. Celebration, Fasting, and Breaking the Fast

Celebration, Fasting, and Mourning

While the

National Day of Mourning may seem contradictory to the idea of celebration, it is important to understand the nuanced nature of this observance. For many Native American communities, the day is not solely focused on mourning, but also on honoring their resilience, cultural heritage, and unity.

It is a time for reflection, remembrance, and a recommitment to advocating for justice. A significant aspect of the

National Day of Mourning is fasting. Fasting is a traditional practice in many Indigenous cultures and serves as a way to spiritually connect with ancestors, seek guidance, and focus one’s energy on the struggles faced by Native American communities.

By intentionally abstaining from food, individuals symbolically stand in solidarity with those who have suffered and actively acknowledge the ongoing challenges faced by Native Americans today. Following the fasting period, individuals may break their fast together, creating an opportunity for communal gathering, sharing stories, and strengthening bonds.

Breaking the fast is seen as a time of renewal, rejuvenation, and hope, as participants recommit themselves to the advocacy and awareness-raising efforts that lie ahead. Political Speakers, Protest, and Researching Native American History

The

National Day of Mourning is marked by the presence of political speakers who share their experiences, knowledge, and perspectives on the struggles faced by Native American communities. These speakers highlight the ongoing injustices, challenge false narratives, and advocate for systemic change.

Protest is also a prominent feature of the

National Day of Mourning. Participants express their dissent through peaceful demonstrations, advocating for justice and demanding a more honest and inclusive representation of Native American history.

By taking to the streets, these activists create visibility and raise awareness about the issues faced by Indigenous peoples. Researching Native American history is another crucial aspect of the

National Day of Mourning. Individuals and organizations use this occasion to deepen their understanding of the true history of Native Americans, exploring primary sources, conducting academic research, and engaging with Indigenous communities.

By sharing accurate knowledge and challenging existing narratives, advocates seek to correct historical misrepresentations and promote a more comprehensive understanding of Native American culture and heritage.

Participation of Native Americans and All Races and Backgrounds

Participation of Native Americans

The

National Day of Mourning welcomes the active participation of Native Americans from various tribes and nations. These individuals bring their unique perspectives, experiences, and cultural practices to the observance, creating a diverse and inclusive space for honoring their shared struggles and advocating for justice.

The involvement of Native Americans in organizing and leading the event ensures that their voices are at the forefront, promoting genuine representation and empowerment.

National Day of Mourning: Mourning With Them

While the

National Day of Mourning is centered around Native American struggles, it is equally important for individuals from all races and backgrounds to participate and stand in solidarity. The observance provides an opportunity for non-Native allies to learn, listen, and actively engage in the fight against systemic injustice.

By mourning with Native American communities, participants cultivate empathy and understanding, recognizing the harm caused by historical and ongoing oppression. This act of solidarity fosters connections and builds alliances, amplifying the collective voice demanding change and challenging the status quo.

In summary, the

National Day of Mourning encompasses celebration, fasting, and breaking the fast, while also featuring political speakers and protests that shed light on the true history of Native Americans. The observance actively encourages the participation of Native Americans and individuals from all races and backgrounds, emphasizing the importance of unity and solidarity in the fight for justice.

By actively engaging in this day of remembrance, reflection, and action, we can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable future for all. In conclusion, the

National Day of Mourning serves as a crucial platform for honoring Native American struggles, challenging historical misrepresentations, and advocating for justice. Through fasting, celebration, political speakers, and protest, this observance creates space for reflection, education, and unity.

It encourages the active participation of Native Americans and individuals from all races and backgrounds, emphasizing the importance of standing in solidarity. By recognizing the resilience and cultural heritage of Indigenous communities, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

Let us carry the spirit of the

National Day of Mourning with us, continuing to learn, advocate, and amplify Native American voices in the fight against systemic injustice.

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