Unthanksgiving returns as an in-person celebration of Indigenous resistance on Alcatraz Island


Last year’s event was limited in capacity and live-streamed due to COVID-19 concerns. This year’s is expected to be much bigger but will still be live-streamed as well as broadcast on the Berkeley, California-based radio station KPFA.

Unthanksgiving, the annual event marking Indigenous resistance on Alcatraz Island, will look much more like it did in years past now that more tickets will be made available for in-person attendance. The sunrise ceremony enters its 47th year this year, with more than 5,000 attendees expected compared to the 70 or so able to attend last year. The event was live-streamed to accommodate limited ticket availability due to the pandemic. Organizers are keeping that element, especially for the sake of ensuring Indigenous folks stay safe as the pandemic continues. Indigenous communities are unfortunately all too familiar with pandemics, and COVID-19 has even shortened life expectancies and hit tribes especially hard.

The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), which organizes the event, will be streaming it on the morning of Nov. 24th on its Facebook page. Berkeley-based community radio station KPFA will also be broadcasting proceedings. This year’s event is expected to include prayers, singing, dancing from Round Valley Indian Tribes, actions honoring Native Hawaiian speakers, and expressing solidarity with Palestinians. There will also be a segment dedicated to missing and murdered Indigenous women—an ongoing crisis long neglected by the mainstream media that has been spotlighted primarily by Indigenous filmmakers and activists.

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