Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October, on October 11 this year, to honor the cultures and histories of the Native American people. The day is centered around reflecting on their tribal roots and the tragic stories that hurt but strengthened their communities.
“Evidently Biden wants to have his cake and eat it too. Columbus Day is over. This was never “Italian Americans’ day.” Colonialism has never been celebrated in hundreds of indigenous nations…”
Activists Still Wait for Wider Embrace of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Over Columbus Day
“It’s patently absurd to honor Indigenous people and the man who tortured and murdered their ancestors,” said Jackson Meredith, an organizer. “As far as we’re concerned, we’re going to keep protesting it until Columbus Day is abolished.”
“Why are 500 plus years still forgotten?” Begay said. “Why don’t we have this single day to recognize these horrible atrocities committed against native people?”
Excerpts from “What Indigenous Peoples’ Day means to Native Americans
- October 11, 20213:47 AM ET
This year marks the first time a U.S. president has officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
President Biden issued a proclamation on Friday to observe this Oct. 11 as a day to honor Native Americans, their resilience and their contributions to American society throughout history, even as they faced assimilation, discrimination and genocide spanning generations. …
What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
There are no set rules on how one should appreciate the day, said Van Heuvelen, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe from South Dakota. It’s all about reflection, recognition, celebration and an education.
“It can be a day of reflection of our history in the United States, the role Native people have played in it, the impacts that history has had on native people and communities, and also a day to gain some understanding of the diversity of Indigenous peoples,” she said.
The idea was first proposed by Indigenous peoples at a United Nations conference in 1977 held to address discrimination against Natives, as NPR has reported. But South Dakota became the first state to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples day in 1989, officially celebrating it the following year.
Biden’s proclamation signifies a formal adoption of a day that a growing number of states and cities have come to acknowledge. Last week, Boston joined Arizona, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., and several other states in dedicating a second Monday in October to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Native Americans have borne the brunt of the work to make that happen.
But work remains!
So far Columbus Day remains a federal holiday
Columbus day was founded upon a celebration of colonialism.
Congress eventually made it a federal holiday in 1934.
“Italian American culture is important, and I think there are other times and places to recognize that. But I think it’s also important to also recognize the history of Columbus Day itself,” said Baca. “Should we recognize a man whose labors killed children, killed women and decimated the Native American population here? I don’t think that is something that we want to be honored.”
“I don’t know that we’ll ever get to a place where people have their land back or have the recognition of who they are, to the degree that we that we need to or should. But the fact that people are paying attention at this very moment — that’s important, because we will have a greater opportunity to educate people and help them understand why we are where we are right now,” she said.
“History is always written by the conqueror,” said Sanchez. “How do we actually tell the truth about what happened and where we sit this very moment? How do we go forward from here?”
Evidently Biden wants to have his cake and eat it too. Columbus Day is over. This was never “Italian Americans’ day.” Colonialism has never been celebrated in hundreds of indigenous nations…
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