As hundreds enjoyed Saturday's Thanksgiving parade in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a group of indigenous people protested the holiday celebration.
"Why do we gather here today? Four hundred years later, we join to raise our voices high that we are still here, we are not conquered and we are not defeated," said Brian Weeden, chair of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
"Plymouth is rich with history, but not the truth of the Indians," said Chief Ladybug of the Ponkapoag Praying Indians.
Since 1970, the Wampanoag Tribe has declared Thanksgiving a national day of mourning for the loss of indigenous people's lives, culture and land.
"Our presence here is a stark reminder of the true story of Thanksgiving that differs so much from the fabled stories shared in classrooms, history books and celebrations across this nation," Weeden said. "We will never forget the atrocities that fell upon our people as a result of their violent trespass."
To this day, the Wampanoag Tribe continues to fight with the federal government over land.
"Here we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the fact that our tribe is still fighting for what little bit of land we have — we own half of 1% of our ancestral territory — and 400 years later, we don't have much to be thankful for," Weeden said.
"Well, we can't change the past, but we can change the future," Chief Ladybug said. "And the way we change the future is to educate people and start understanding that this is not a day of celebration. This is a day of mourning."
After helping Pilgrims, today's Wampanoag tribe fight for their ancestral lands.. November 22, 2021 - read this
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