There will once again be a few thousand Indigenous people and allies on Alcatraz for the Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Thursday, and while Colin Kapepernick may or may not be attending, he’s providing food from a renowned Native American chef.
Every year since 1975 (except for a couple years during COVID-19 outbreaks), Native Americans and their supporters have gathered at Alcatraz Island before sunrise on Thanksgiving Day for an event colloquially known as Unthanksgiving — though technically called the Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering. This will happen again Thursday morning, commemorating the 1969-71 Native occupation of Alcatraz and honoring the Ramaytush Ohlone people who never ceded that land.
🌅 Join us for a special Thanksgiving Day tradition! 🦃✨ KPFA is thrilled to announce that we will be broadcasting the annual Sunrise Ceremony LIVE from Alcatraz Island! 🌄 Tune in from 5 - 8 am on Thanksgiving morning to experience this powerful and meaningful event. pic.twitter.com/P9EDjbFwka— KPFA Radio (@kpfaradio) November 21, 2023
The only way to get to Alcatraz is by boat, and advance boat tickets are sold out. But the boat proprietor Alcatraz City Cruises says they will open their Pier 33 ticket booth at 3:15 a.m., and organizers add that “There will be 500 tickets available for purchase at the box office on Pier 33 the morning of the event.” It may be easier to just tune in to 94.1 KPFA who will be broadcasting the ceremony from 5-8 a.m. Thursday.
On this Thursday morning, before sunrise, hundreds of American Indians and non-Native allies will gather on Alcatraz Island for “The Indigenous Peoples Gathering Sunrise Ceremony.” The annual event is organized by the International Indian Treaty Council.https://t.co/QO4ujr5f3U— Treaty Council (@treatycouncil) November 21, 2023
The event is organized by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC). “It’s important to remember the brutal history of genocide that Indigenous Peoples have suffered,” IITC executive director Andrea Carmen said in a previous release. “It’s also important that we gather together to give thanks for our lives, the survival, and resiliency of our cultures, and the spirit of resistance passed down to us by our ancestors. Because of their courage and sacrifice, we still have these sacred ways that continue to give us strength to be who we are.”
Why Oakland chef Crystal Wahpepah of Wahpepah’s Kitchen is going to Alcatraz. https://t.co/2Dwduobcof— SFGATE (@SFGate) November 22, 2023
It is well-known that former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has shown up for the ceremony a few times, though it’s unknown if he’s attending this year. But SFGate reports that Kaepernick is paying for Kickapoo-themed breakfast burritos Thursday for 200 attendees, prepared by Native American chef Crystal Wahpepah of Oakland’s Wahpepah’s Kitchen. (Do not expect a free breakfast burrito if you attend. There will only be 200 of them, and SFGate says they’re for “tribal leaders, dancers and others returning to San Francisco post-gathering.”)
If you have not been to the Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering before, the above video from KQED gives you a good idea of the spirit of this annual ceremony.
Image: @MuwekmaTribe via Twitter