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Native Americans to demonstrate in Plymouth on Thanksgiving

More than 100 people will gather Thursday in Plymouth to remember the Native Americans who died after the Europeans arrived in the 1600s, and highlight the struggles some Native Americans face today, organizers said.

The demonstration for the National Day of Mourning, which coincides with Thanksgiving Day, will be the 45th held by the United American Indians of New England in Plymouth.

The event will begin at Cole’s Hill at noon with speakers, and then continue with rallies by Plymouth Rock and the site of the Metacomet (King Philip) historical marker. The event will conclude with a volunteer-run community meal.

For the past 20 years, Moonaum James, has helped organize the protest, which was started in 1970 by his father, Wamsutta Frank James.

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He said demonstrators are not against Thanksgiving, but rather want to “correct the history” of the holiday that suggests that the Pilgrims and Native Americans coexisted peacefully.

“We’re not there to condemn, and not there to do anything other than point out some truths,” he said.

James said the intent behind The National Day of Mourning goes beyond just Native American issues. The demonstrators also lend their support to the “oppressed and repressed people all over the world,” he said.

According to the statement, Thursday’s demonstrators will also express solidarity with people in Ferguson, Mo.; undocumented workers in the United States; and those affected by federal budget cutbacks.

“I will go up there for as long as it takes to get these messages across,” James said.


Trisha Thadani can be reached at trisha.thadani@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @TrishaThadani.