.@Kaepernick7 and @saaylooli at the indigenous peoples’ sunrise ceremony on Alcatraz this morning. Kap was presented with ceremonial eagle feathers (an honor beyond what can immediately be explained on Twitter). pic.twitter.com/vCPrRfXaCt— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) November 23, 2017
Colin Kaepernick has a history of using his power and influence to bring the country’s attention to the plight of minorities who are often ignored by the public. So it’s not surprising that on Thanksgiving, he did just that.
The American football star traveled to Alcatraz Island to join Native Americans protesting what Thanksgiving Day represents to them and their ancestors: genocide.
People gathered at Alcatraz Prison to honor indigenous lives lost on this day at the Indigenous Peoples' Thanksgiving sunrise event.— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 23, 2017
Colin Kaepernick and others showed up in solidarity. pic.twitter.com/elfLJ5Xaz2
During the UnThanksgiving Day event, an annual sunrise gathering that hopes to bring the public’s attention to the deadly impact tied to the arrival of European colonists, Kaepernick received two eagle feathers from a Native American elder before giving a speech to the attendees.
“I’m very humbled to share this space with all of you,” he told those present for the gathering. “Our fight is the same fight. We’re all fighting for our justice, for our freedom. And realizing that we’re 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
According Morning Star Gali, one of the event's organizers and a Pit River tribe member, organizers were not aware that the football star was going to show up.
“I was the emcee, and it was still dark, and we couldn’t see anything. Then one of my co-workers told me he was there,” she explained. “I just said ‘we had a relative among us called Colin Kaepernick and I trust that as good relatives we’re not going to crowd him too much and give him some space.’”
Kaepernick was not going to speak to the 4,500 people present at the event, but because elder Fred Short decided to present the football star with the ceremonial feathers, the athlete decided to stay.
Morning Star explained that the occupation of the Alcatraz island represents courage in the face of oppression, and that she and others hope this protest may “[encourage] indigenous people around the world to stand up and resist.”
Hopefully, Kaepernick was able to bring the spotlight to their protest by doing what he does best: allowing his own fame to boost the media’s attention to minorities ignored by most Americans and their struggles.