Indigenous Peoples Day: Things to Know

Indigenous Peoples’ Day began as a counter-ceremony taken on the same day as Columbus Day in 1992, It was instituted in Berkeley of California, to unity with the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. US President Joe Biden declared October 11, 2021, to be a national holiday.

Lets find out few things:

  • In the 1970s, Indigenous Peoples’ Day was proposed as an alternative to Columbus Day in the Americas. Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving, Native American groups staged a protest in Boston to commemorate the collaboration between Massachusetts colonists and Native Americans.
  • So far, more than 70 cities, colleges, and states now recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. In August, Los Angeles became the biggest city to make the change so far. Last month Sante Fe, New Mexico, and Davenport, Iowa, did the same.
  • Columbus was a brutal European colonizer who never set foot in the Americas. But he has been honored with his own federal holiday for more than 80 years.
  • Before Columbus, there were thousands of nations in what we now call the Americas. In the US, we can easily recognize Hopi, Chickasaw, and Shinnecock as distinct peoples. Indigenous Peoples Day acknowledges the fact that this is a celebration for and about many different nations.
  • South Dakota was the first state to swap up Columbus Day with Native American Day. Berkeley, California, was the first city to change the holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day. Two states, Vermont and Alaska, have replaced the holiday more recently. There have been years of hard work by indigenous peoples behind those efforts.
  • There’s a very visible resurgence of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the United States right now, says former KKK grand wizard David Duke. They want to defend the legacies of colonization and enslavement, they want to preserve their way of life, Duke says.

Indigenous peoples around the country honored Monday with heritage festivals, education programs, and a call for the Biden administration to follow through on its promises. The words “Expect Us” are spray painted on the base of the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park as Indigenous and environmental activists’ protest also.