November 2006 Volume 19 Number 11
Thanksgiving: A National Day of Mourning for Indians
By Moonanum James and Mahtowin Munro
Every year since 1970, United American Indians of New England has organized the National Day of Mourning in Plymouth at noon on Thanksgiving Day. Hundreds of Native people and supporters from all four directions join in. Every year, Native people from throughout the Americas speak the truth about our history and the current issues and struggles we are involved in.
Thanksgiving in this country— and in particular in Plymouth—is much more than a harvest home festival. It is a celebration of the pilgrim mythology. According to this mythology, the pilgrims arrived, the Native people fed them and welcomed them, the Indians promptly faded into the background, and everyone lived happily ever after.
The pilgrims are glorified and mythologized because the circumstances of the first English-speaking colony in Jamestown were frankly too ugly (for example, they …