National Day of Mourning is a solemn and sorrowful holiday, celebrated by Native Americans on Thanksgiving Day in memory of the immense violence and suffering inflicted on them by European settlers. This holiday was created by UAINE, an activist movement led by Native Americans and their supporters, to ensure that this dark history is not forgotten.
In 1620, the first colonists arrived in Massachusetts, where they soon began to evict, persecute and threaten the Native American population. To honor the memory of those who fought for their lives, the Native Americans gather annually on Cole Hill, where the first event was held in 1970. The holiday has grown in popularity with each passing year, and now many people, both Native and non-Native, take part in the events.
- The total number of victims of the genocide is still unknown – until 1860, the Native Americans were not counted in the population census.
- One of the leaders of the resistance movement is said to have remarked: “We were glad to meet the Europeans, we thought they were bringing light.”
- Today, there are around 5 million Native Americans, mestizos, and their descendants.
- In 1825, a law was passed that allowed American citizens to seize Native American land, if it had been “discovered” by them.
- Many Native American words have been adopted into modern English, such as potato, bison, tomato, and chia.
How to take part
Learn more about this tragic history and share what you know with those around you. Find out more about UAINE and consider ways in which you can help the movement. Attend events to show your support and solidarity.
When is National Day of Mourning celebrated in 2023?
National Day of Mourning is observed on the fourth Thursday of November each year.