While many NFL players were suiting up to take the field Thursday afternoon, former 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick was celebrating ‘Unthanksgiving Day’ on Alcatraz.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Kaepernick made a surprise appearance at the event that was created to commemorate the American Indians activists who occupied the island for 19 months from 1969 to1971.
The 89 activists who occupied the island during this time period demanded that the former prison be recreated to become a American Indian cultural center and school.
“Our fight is the same fight,” Kaepernick told the crowd, in a message he posted on Twitter. “We’re all fighting for our justice, for our freedom. And realizing that we are all in this fight together makes us all the more powerful.”
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
The event, which is called the indigenous peoples gathering, includes dances and gatherings to watch the sun rise from the island.
Kaepernick was just named the “Citizen of the Year” by GQ magazine as a result of his peaceful protests of police brutality and racial inequality by not standing for the national anthem. These acts drew, and are still drawing, an influx of attention and controversy to the NFL.
While it just started with Kaepernick kneeling, many other players have now elected to do so in a show of solidarity.