Communities across the country are changing their official “Columbus Day” holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. A growing list of communities and states who would rather proclaim this day as “National Indigenous People’s Day” rather than “Columbus Day” has sparked the attention of the masses and 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. The move shifts focus from Columbus Day, the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus, which shares the same date as Indigenous Peoples’ Day this year.
“Indigenous Peoples’ Day advocates say the recognition helps correct a “whitewashed” American history that has glorified Europeans like Italian explorer Christopher Columbus who have committed violence against Indigenous communities. Native Americans have long criticized the inaccuracies and harmful narratives of Columbus’ legacy that credited him with his “discovery” of the Americas when Indigenous people were there first.” Bowman, E (2021, October 11). Goodbye, Columbus? Here’s what Indigenous Peoples’ Day means to Native Americans. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2021/10/11/1044823626/indigenous-peoples-day-native-americans-columbus.
So what is “Indigenous Peoples’ Day and why was it started?
The idea was first proposed by Indigenous peoples at a United Nations conference in 1977 set 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. The day typically celebrated on the second Monday of October, marked the beginning of the year of reconciliation. Also called First People‘s Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Indian Day (Brazil), or Native American Day.
It was a grass roots movement that has blossomed into a day to honor Native Indigenous Americans in the Western hemisphere on Columbus Day by various countries, states and municipalities in the Americas.
Today October, 11, 2021 we celebrate the Substantial legacy of Indigenous People.