Today, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Native Americans gather to mark a “National Day of Mourning,” as they have for 50 years. The protests began in 1970 by Wamsutta Frank James and are carried on by his son, Moonaum James.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, James said demonstrators are not against Thanksgiving, but rather want to “correct the history” of the holiday that suggests that the Pilgrims and Native Americans coexisted peacefully. “We’re not there to condemn, and not there to do anything other than point out some truths,” he said.
It’s expected that numerous people will gather today at noon and others will hold rallies at Plymouth Rock and at other places like the site of the Metacomet (King Philip) historical marker in order to remember the Native Americans who died after the Europeans arrived in the 1600s and to highlight the struggles some Native Americans face today.
Indeed, a looming North American anniversary will soon — next year in 2020 — force these issues to be raised even more nationally, as CBSBoston recently put it:
Plymouth is putting the final touches on next year’s 400th anniversary commemorations of the Pilgrims’ landing in 1620. And as the 2020 events approach, descendants of the Wampanoag tribe that helped the newcomers survive are determined to ensure the world doesn’t forget the disease, racism and oppression the European settlers brought.