Note regarding the 2020 gathering from the organizers: “For the safety of our community members and elders during the COVID-19 pandemic, IITC’s Annual Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island, attended each year by over 4500 participants, will not take place this year as a public event. We will still be gathering in a small circle to give thanks for our survival, cultures and sacred ways of life, and to send prayers of support and healing to the families whose loved ones have passed on and all those who are struggling to recover from this illness . We invite you to join us via Facebook livestream from 6-8 AM on NOVEMBER 25th, and to listen to the entire gathering on KPFA radio NOVEMBER 26th.”
Alcatraz Thanksgiving Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering
Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
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 3:00 AM Thanksgiving morning. You can also buy tickets in person in advance at Pier 33. If it does sell out only a very small number of tickets will be available the morning of the ceremony.
The event 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.