Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. President Joe Biden’s proclamation officially declares that October 11, 2021, is a day to “honor America’s first inhabitants and the Tribal Nations that continue to thrive today.”
An article featured on NPR, written by Emma Bowman, states that “the move shifts focus from Columbus Day, the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus, which shares the same date as Indigenous Peoples’ Day this year.”
What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
It is a holiday that celebrates Indigenous people and commemorates their history. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a day to reflect, recognize, appreciate and educate.
Counter-Celebrating Columbus Day
It began as a day to counter celebrate the U.S federal holiday, Columbus Day. Many reject the holiday honoring the Italian explorer Christopher Colombus due to the violent history of colonization. His exploration led to genocide and slavery.
Biden states in his proclamation, “today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities.”
In addition, he says, “for generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” Biden wrote in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamation. “…we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”
10 Ways to Celebrate and Support
In 2019, in solidarity with Indigenous people, Wisconsin began officially observing this holiday instead of Colombus Day. Now the nation formally does. How can we celebrate this day?
- Listen to Indigenous music made and produced by Indigenous people
- Purchase art made by Indigenous people
- Practice using appropriate terms and language
- Read books by Indigenous authors and illustrators
- Donate to Indigenous Peoples & Native-Led Nonprofits
- In Wisconsin:
- Follow Indigenous activists and influencers
- Shina Nova- Inuk throat singer
- Mele- Polynesian content creator/educator
- Focus on the tribes indigenous to your area
- Understand the Tribal Lands of Wisconsin
- Visit or volunteer at a reservation
Gov. Evers Signs Executive Order on Indigenous Peoples Day Issuing Formal Acknowledgement, Apology for State’s Historical Role in Indian Boarding Schools. Read about it here.
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