Re-informed: The Day of Mourning 2020

The National Day of Mourning marks 50 years since the people of the Wampanoag refused to accept the one-dimensional telling of the Thanksgiving story and were no longer willing to be silenced.

Mayflower 400 UK has joined with our partners Plymouth 400 to explore the story of the National Day of Mourning as part of our Re-informed series.

In 1970 when Frank James, then leader of the Wampanoag, would no longer be condemned to silence about the treatment of his people since the landing of the Mayflower, he was asked to give a speech to mark the 350th anniversary of the sailing.

When he refused to read the organisers' revised text of his own words, he was 'uninvited' from the programme. Instead, James marched to Cole's Hill, where supporters heard him give his original speech next to the statue of former Wampanoag leader Ousamequin.

Half a century on, Native Americans still gather on Cole’s Hill on Thanksgiving Day - not to mark the Mayflower’s arrival but to commemorate a National Day of Mourning.

This video seeks to tell that story in partnership with Plymouth 400 and Native American marketing agency SmokeSygnals Marketing and Communications. It will also look at extracts from Our Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History - conceptualised, researched, and produced by SmokeSygnals and The Indian Spiritual and Cultural Training Council Inc.

The exhibit is part of Plymouth 400, Inc.'s Signature Programs and Events and, until the pandemic, had been traveling throughout New England to various museums, schools, community centres, festivals and even the Massachusetts State House. 

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