Alcatraz Thanksgiving Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering 2016
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2017
Departure: Alcatraz Pier 33 Ferry Terminal
Insiders Tip: Tickets for this event can sell out. If you plan to get up early and go, we recommend buying tickets in advance to avoid heartbreak.
Each year on Thanksgiving morning Alcatraz is closed for the day for regular visitors, but from 4:45 AM till 6:00 AM the ferries run every 15 minutes and bring people to the island to celebrate the Alcatraz Thanksgiving Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering. After the event the ferries run from Pier 33 until the last sailing at 8:45 AM, when all visitors must leave Alcatraz.
Tickets cost $14 per person and are free for kids under 5.
The box office opens at 4:15 AM Thanksgiving morning, or you can buy tickets online here and avoid the (highly probable) risk of the event selling out. If it does sell out only a very small number of tickets will be available the morning of the ceremony.
The event was born as a remembrance of the Occupation of Alcatraz by Indians of All Tribes in 1969-71, which focused attention on the land rights and living conditions of Indians in the United States on a day dedicated to celebrating the arrival of Europeans. More broadly, it seeks to honor the traditions of the indigenous peoples on the day that attention is normally devoted elsewhere. It’s also sometimes referred to as Unthanksgiving Day or Un-Thanksgiving Day.
For some Native Americans it has further personal significance as a celebration of their personal relationship with nature.
The event is open to anyone who wants to come. The video below is from the 2010 version of the event.
Photo credit: Georgio, accessed 11/22/13