Dozens of Indigenous people gather in Tampa for day of mourning on Thanksgiving

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — For millions of Americans, Thanksgiving is a day to spend with family and celebrate.

But for many others, it’s the opposite. Indigenous people around the world recognize this day as a day of mourning.

Dozens of Native Americans gathered along Bayshore Boulevard in front of the Christopher Columbus statue Thursday from dawn until dusk. They also spent the day fasting and mourning.

On the National Day of mourning, Indigenous people say they remember their ancestors who were murdered by uninvited European colonists hundreds of years ago. 

Robert Rosa is with the Florida Indigenous Alliance. He says to watch people celebrate Thanksgiving the way they do is hurtful.

“It hurts me because we wouldn’t celebrate the day of the Holocaust, we wouldn’t celebrate 9/11 with a Thanksgiving dinner,” Rosa said. “We want people to recognize this is the real truth.”

Rosa says so far, he doesn’t believe their voices are heard, but that won’t stop him, and every other Indigenous person from preaching their truth.

“We’re human, we’re all human, let’s have empathy and love,” Rosa said. “We can’t live on trauma and lies, it’s 2021 and we’re still teaching lies in school, what are we afraid of.”

Rosa says they’ve sent notices to the mayor, governor and delegates to remove the statue on Bayshore.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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