Colin Kaepernick wasn’t playing football on Thanksgiving, so he had plenty of time to participate in an “Unthanksgiving Day” event.
On Thursday, Kaepernick attended the “Unthanksgiving Day” event on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California. That is where Native American activists gather every Thanksgiving to commemorate “indigenous resistance.”
The former NFL quarterback blasted the United States government for stealing land.
“Spent the morning at the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on the 50 year anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz,” Kaepernick wrote in a tweet that also had a video of him attending the event. “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.”
This year’s Unthanksgiving Day marked 50 years since Bay Area Native Americans left reservations and claimed Alcatraz as their own.
From November 20, 1969, until June 11, 1971, Native Americans lived on Alcatraz, which was where the infamous island prison was located and operated until it was decommissioned in 1963. The Occupation of Alcatraz lasted 19-months until the Indians of All Tribes (IOAT) protesters were removed from Alcatraz.
“This is a colonialist and capitalist holiday,” Kanyon Sayers-Roods, a member of the Mutsun Ohlone tribe, said of Thanksgiving.
Kaepernick also retweeted a Washington Post article that hinted that Thanksgiving is racist.
“Antebellum campaigns to establish Thanksgiving as nat’l holiday grew up alongside colonizationist efforts to remove free Black people from U.S. Nationalization advocates mobilized white fears of Black equality to build support for holiday,” WaPo writer Christopher Petrella wrote in a tweet that Kaepernick shared.
“While this history is largely forgotten from mainstream retellings of Thanksgiving, it is crucial to remember because it forces us to face and address the insidious tie between whiteness and our conception of the United States that is often reflected in the very foundation of our national holidays,” the article with the subheadline of “The racist roots of our national celebration” states. “Recognizing these roots is one important step in rescuing the Thanksgiving holiday from its many fictions.”
The 32-year-old Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since his last game with the San Francisco 49ers on January 1, 2016. After he opted out of his contract on March 3, 2017, no team has signed the free agent quarterback.