The annual Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island, also reportedly known as “Un-Thanksgiving,” hosted a famous guest this year: Colin Kaepernick.
The former 49ers quarterback, now a free agent, said via Twitter that he attended in solidarity “with those celebrating their culture,” and to pay respects to those who participated in a 19-month “occupation of Alcatraz.”
The event, held on Thanksgiving, is organized by the International Indian Treaty Council on Alcatraz and regularly draws thousands to highlight the history of native peoples — including the Ohlone, who are indigenous to the San Francisco area long before it ever carried that name.
“Alcatraz Island is sacred because it is an island where Ohlone ancestors held ceremonies for centuries,” according to Native News Online.
In a video Kaepernick posted to Twitter, an unnamed host at the early-morning event on Alcatraz introduced the quarterback. The host said, “We’re not going to stand for the current day American genocide and what that represents. We have a relative here today with us, and his name is Colin Kaepernick.”
Kaepernick has garnered widespread attention for his silence following his kneeling protest of the National Anthem, which grew into a widespread movement. However, the video he posted to Twitter shows him addressing the gathered Native American celebrants.
“This truly is an honor to be here today. I’m honored to share this space with all of you,” he said before the crowd.
“I realize that our fight is the same fight,” he said. “We’re all fighting for our justice, for our freedom. Realizing we’re all in this fight together makes us all the more powerful.”
Watch the full video in an embedded Twitter video below.
Today, I was on Alcatraz Island at the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering, in solidarity with those celebrating their culture and paying respects to those that participated in the 19 month occupation of Alcatraz in an effort to force 🇺🇸 to honor the Treaty of Fort Laramie. pic.twitter.com/KdNtY3dp72
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 24, 2017