Native Americans Host “Unthanksgiving” Ceremony at Alcatraz

November 24, 2005

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: AFP

On November 24, 2005 Agence France-Presse reported, "A tribal chant rose from a thousands-strong prayer circle on San Francisco's Alcatraz Island, as Native Americans held a sunrise 'Unthanksgiving Day' ceremony. 'What we call it, is Unthanksgiving,' Bear Lincoln of the Wailikie Tribe told AFP as he waved burning sage to purify the area and ward off evil spirits. Traditional Thanksgiving feasting in the United States is a tribute to the meal the original European Pilgrims shared with the Native Americans who helped them survive in the new land. But it is not a day of celebration for the Wailkikie tribe. 'It was the saddest day for us. It was a big mistake for us to help the Pilgrims survive that first winter. They betrayed us once they got their strength.' An estimated 3,000 people packed onto ferries that set out from Fisherman's Wharf for Alcatraz in the pre-dawn darkness Thursday, according to organizers... Groups representing Japanese, Palestinian, Aztec and African indigenous people joined Native Americans in dancing, chanting and prayers."