Thousands gather at Alcatraz Island for Indigenous Ceremony


Star Talker of Sacramento performs a traditional ritual during the Indigenous People’s Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (Sarahbeth Maney/Golden Gate Xpress)

Before dawn broke, thousands of people occupied Alcatraz Island to commemorate Indigenous history. Andrea Carmen, the executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council, welcomed the sun by shedding light on the Pequot Massacre, which some believe led to the declaration of thanksgiving. “We are here to remember them [ancestors] and honor great warriors,” said Carmen. Traditional ceremonies of song and dance continued throughout the morning as people gathered in a circle to stand for tribes around America.