By : Kisha James
4 min read
Since 1970, Indigenous people have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning (NDOM) while the US observes its thanksgiving holiday. Many Native people do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. The holiday 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 NDOM honor Indigenous 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 that Native people continue to experience.
The NDOM protest was founded in 1970 by Wamsutta Frank James, an Aquinnah Wampanoag tribal member, when then MA Governor Sargent refused to allow Wamsutta to give a speech at a banquet commemorating the 350th landing of the Pilgrims, calling his speech “inflammatory”. The speech that Wamsutta instead delivered in Plymouth was based on historical fact instead of the hollow fiction portrayed in the thanksgiving myth. (The full speech can be read at UAINE.org)
Protesters will gather again on Cole’s Hill this year on Thursday November 24th. As Moonanum James, son of Wamsutta Frank James and the late co-leader of UAINE, said to the crowd at the 2019 NDOM:
“We will continue to gather on this hill till corporations and the U.S. military stop polluting the Earth. Until we dismantle the brutal apparatus of mass incarceration. We will not stop until the oppression of our Two-Spirit siblings is a thing of the past. When the homeless have homes. When children are no longer taken from their parents and locked in cages. When the Palestinians reclaim the homeland and the autonomy Israel has denied them for the past 70 years. When no person goes hungry or is left to die, because they have little or no access to quality health care. When insulin is free. When union busting is a thing of the past. Until then, the struggle will continue.”
*Interested in participating? Get on the NDOM Bus, which departs from “The Brewery” in JP at 10 AM on Nov. 24th. Details and Eventbrite reservations can be found at www.facebook bit.ly/NDOM2022. The event can be viewed virtually on the livestream by Sunny Singh of www.hate5six.com.
Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #152 November 2022
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