What Is National Day Of Mourning? Why Is It Observed? Know Its Importance!

National Day of Mourning

The massive immigration and colonialism that surpassed European Imperialism is seen in American history. However, Native Americans who have endured the loss of their ancestral lands are aware of this grieving.

The National Day Of Mourning, which is annually observed on the fourth Thursday in November, is devoted to remembering Native ancestors and the Native people’s recent struggle for survival. Native Americans in New England have participated in this protest every year on the day of Thanksgiving since the 1970s.

To oppose the Thanksgiving holiday, Unthanksgiving Day is commemorated on the West Coast. The Wampanoag people, who are native to the New England region, as well as tribes all around the country, as well as other Americans who demonstrate their support and acknowledge Native American perspectives, commemorate the National Day of Mourning.

Also Read: Know The Importance Of Native American Heritage Day

What Is National Day Of Mourning?

What Is National Day Of Mourning?

The original iteration of the festivities was planned when Native Americans were politically involved and there were widespread cultural demonstrations. The demonstration is coordinated by UAINE (United American Indians of New England).

A fresh viewpoint and appreciation for Native American culture have resulted from the protests, along with many alterations to how American history is presented, how settlers and the government interacted with Native Americans, and how Native Americans are viewed in society.

An independent, Native American-based organisation, the UAINE. Fighting racism and securing the release of prisoners held for political reasons are its main goals.

The initial period of sorrow began in 1970, when Wampanoag leader Wamsutta, also known as Frank James, was silenced after speaking about the difficult truth of the first Thanksgiving during celebrations hosted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Wamsutta, who was the Wampanoag tribe’s chief when the Pilgrims arrived, consequently declined to take part in the festivities and walked to Cole’s Hill near the monument of Massasoit with his followers.

The first National Day of Mourning was established after he delivered his original address here. Thus, the UAINE organizes the National Day of Mourning every year at the same venue to inform people about the truths of Wampanoag people’s history and the history of Thanksgiving and to create awareness among the broader public about how they are consistently distorted.

Annually, more people have joined the protest. At noon, a march through Plymouth’s historic area kicks off the protest, which is then followed by speeches by Native speakers detailing their triumphs over earlier and present challenges. A social gathering over food, such as pre-cooked foods, sweets, non-alcoholic beverages, or fresh fruits and vegetables, marks the end of the protest. Everyone is welcome to participate in the demonstration, which has lately attracted other minority activists.

Read More: World Day Of Orphans 2022: Everything You Need To Know

History Of National Day Of Mourning

Know The History Of National Day Of Mourning

The origin of Thanksgiving is a tale of how the Pilgrims and Native Americans benefited from each other’s company, but the festival also reveals another aspect of history.

This festival was established by the United American Indians of New England (UAINE) to raise awareness of Native American demonization and democide.

The United American Indians of New England created the official National Day of Mourning in 1970 when a Wampanoag man named Wamsutta Frank James declined an offer to speak at a celebration honouring the 350th anniversary of the pilgrims’ arrival in Plymouth.

In appreciation for the pilgrims who seized native land and brought agony and suffering to local people, James turned down the invitation to “say false words.” Since then, the group and its backers have remained committed to amplifying Native American viewpoints on the Thanksgiving holiday and other issues that native people are currently facing.

The UANIE is a self-sufficient, Native-led group that promotes acknowledging Native Americans’ and political prisoners’ battles. On the experience of one Native American, the day was created.

According to their website, Wamsutta, an Aquinnah Wampanoag man, requested a copy of the speech after being asked to speak at a posh Commonwealth of Massachusetts luncheon honouring the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival.

Within a few days, a representative of the Department of Commerce and Development informed Wamsutta that he would not be permitted to deliver the address. Since then, UANIE has urged participants to take part in the National Day of Mourning in order to comprehend the racism and injustice they endured and to find a spiritual remembering of those throughout history.

Cole’s Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts, is where most of their activities are concentrated. In an effort to comprehend the truth about history and how it has been misrepresented through the years, they organise lecturers and hold demonstrations in the Plymouth neighbourhood.

How To Celebrate National Day Of Mourning

How Do You Observe National Day of Mourning?

A lot of historical perspectives of Native Americans and American history as a whole are being revised as a result of the protests that UAINE coordinated.

Therefore, celebrate the day by delving into American history with the fresh perspective needed to capture the truths of the country’s past. Use the hashtags #NationalDayOfMourning and #DayOfMourning to express yourself on social media.

Learning about the many Native American traditions is another way you might mark this day. To increase the depth of your information, you can explore the internet or discover a book that has solid credentials. It’s also a great idea to start with firstnations.org.

If reading is not your thing, you may still experience the National Day of Mourning’s spirit by watching movies like Dreamkeeper, IMprint, The Cherokee Word for Water, Our Spirits Don’t Speak English, etc.

By knowing more about the UAINE organisation and its work for Native Americans, one can also mark the National Day of Mourning in the most fitting way possible. If you’re in Plymouth, seize the chance to take part in the demonstration. Post images on social media to inspire your friends and family to join you in observing the National Day of Mourning.

53rd National Day Of Mourning

53rd National Day of Mourning: Everything You Need To Know

Since 1965, the United American Indians of New England (UAINE) and their supporters have gathered on the fictitious Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to discuss these issues, dispel settler myths, and observe a National Day of Mourning for the Indigenous people who have been killed by settler colonialism and imperialism across the globe.

Since the initial demonstration in 1970, protesters have assembled on Cole’s Hill to celebrate a National Day of Mourning. A young woman was attacked by police in 1972 during the National Day of Mourning because she was carrying an American flag on the backwards.

At the 1974 National Day of Mourning, Wamsutta and demonstrators freed the remains of a 16-year-old Wampanoag girl from the Pilgrim Hall Museum. The Plymouth police attacked and brutalised National Day of Mourning protestors and organisers in 1997, and 25 protesters were taken into custody.

The ensuing legal dispute and compromise resulted in the installation of two plaques: one noted the beginning and significance of the National Day of Mourning, and the other honored Metacomet (King Philip), who led resistance against English immigrants in 1675.

The settlement also safeguarded the right to march without a permission on each National Day of Mourning and made sure that no charges would be brought against any of the 25 demonstrators. As they have done for the previous 52 years, protesters will congregate on Cole’s Hill on the fictitious Thanksgiving holiday this year.

Key topics to be discussed include the prospective repeal of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the subject of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S), the ongoing anti-colonial fight in Puerto Rico, and Leonard Peltier’s request for pardon.

At the 2019 National Day of Mourning, Moonanum James, the late co-leader of UAINE and son of Wamsutta Frank James, addressed the crowd:

“Until the U.S. military and companies stop poisoning the Earth, we will continue to assemble on this hill. until we abolish the cruel system of mass incarceration. We won’t give up until our Two-Spirit siblings are no longer subject to oppression. when the homeless have housing when kids aren’t separated from their parents and kept in cages any longer. when Israel grants the Palestinians the autonomy and return of their homeland that has been withheld from them over the previous 70 years. when nobody goes without food or is allowed to perish because to a lack of access to high-quality healthcare. when insulin is unbound. when union-busting is no longer a problem. The conflict will go on till then.”


Native Americans in the United States of America organized a day for national observance known as the National Day of Mourning.

The purpose of the holiday is to raise awareness among Americans about the historical misconceptions surrounding the first Thanksgiving and the issues that Native Americans have long faced as a result of Americans with European ancestry.

Every year, on the fourth Thursday in November, the day after Thanksgiving, since its inception in 1970, it is observed. Native American organizations organize public events, meetings, speeches, and protests on this day across the country to raise awareness of the cruel history that their ancestors endured.


I'm a 4th Year student of Architecture Undergraduate programme at Priyadarshini Institute of Architecture And Design Studies, Nagpur. During my studies, I have worked on multiple projects and these assignments have helped me to become a great team player and how to function well in fast paced and deadline driven environments. Some of interests are Sketching, listening and exploring old music, watching documentaries and being an architectural student I like to explore the conceptual angle of every element.

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