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National Day of Mourning

From Academic Kids

The National Day of Mourning is an annual protest held each Thanksgiving in the United States.

The protest started in 1970, when a group labeled the United Native Americans of New England buried Plymouth Rock. They were protesting the European colonization of America, characterizing it as land theft and genocide. Since then a protest group has gathered each year in Plymouth, Massachusetts to mark Thanksgiving as a day of infamy.

In 1997 this protest erupted in violence and arrests were made. More recent protests have been held on Coles Hill, overlooking but not at Plymouth Rock. The originators have been joined by black, Hispanic, and even gay rights activists in protest. Typically several hundred protesters appear.

1997 violence

Since 1921 (the 300th year after the first Thanksgiving) some Plymouth residents stage a reenactment of Thanksgiving each year. They gather at a church on the site of the Pilgrims' original meeting house, in 17th century costume. After prayers and a sermon, they march to Plymouth Rock. This annual event had even become something of a tourist attraction.

For nearly thirty years the two groups arrived at their destination at different times. But in 1997, they met. The Day of Mourning protesters fell into the Pilgrim parade after the reenactors, shouting slogans and reportedly grabbing bibles from them. Police moved in to separate the two groups. Reports of the incident vary widely, but there were no serious injuries and only about 20 or 30 arrests.

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