Colin Kaepernick spent Thanksgiving addressing a group at the “Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony” on San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island.
Fox News reported the ceremony, known as “Unthanksgiving,” honors the 50th anniversary of when Native Americans began occupying the island, which formerly housed the infamous federal prison, Alcatraz.
Kaepernick tweeted his support of the event.
“Spent the morning at the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on the 50 year anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz. The U.S. government has stolen over 1.5 billion acres of land from Indigenous people. Thank you to my Indigenous family, I’m with you today and always,” as he signed off with the Black power fist.
Spent the morning at the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on the 50 year anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz. The US government has stolen over 1.5 billion acres of land from Indigenous people. Thank you to my Indigenous family, I’m with you today and always.✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/6cTuktUlQN
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 28, 2019
Kaepernick also retweeted a Washington Post perspective piece that shines a light on the racist roots of Thanksgiving.
In the article, writer Christopher Petrella, who teaches in the race, gender and cultural studies collaborative at American University, states that Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, known as the Godmother of Thanksgiving, suggested the holiday as a way to bring the nation together much like the Fourth of July.
“Yet, her conception of ‘all of the people’ who would observe this holiday excluded at least one group: free Black people, as she made clear in an 1830 article titled ‘Fourth of July’ that appeared in the Ladies’ Magazine and Literary Gazette. In that piece, Hale wrote that ‘it should not be urged to have the slaves set at liberty till they can be sent to their own land, because they never can be free here,’” Petrella wrote, adding that while Hale was against slavery, she envisioned freed slaves moving back to Africa and not living in America.
Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback, has attended the Native American event for the past several years. In 2016, he tweeted a video showing a man taking the island by “right of discovery.”
“It’s been 50 years since the occupation,” Kaepernick said at the time, according to Fox News.
“And that struggle has continued for that 50 years … It’s our responsibility to honor our ancestors and honor our elders by carrying on that struggle. Don’t let their sacrifices be in vain. That’s why it’s important for all of us to be here today — to show that we’re together, that we’re unified, that we have that solidarity. And I hope to spend many more of these with you.”