Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous+Peoples%27+Day

Lee Cline, Reporter/Writer

Monday, October 12th was Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a day to commemorate the rich, diverse cultures and histories of the Native American community. This holiday, observed in opposition to Columbus Day, is celebrated on the second Monday of October. To this day, the impact of European colonialism still affects Native Americans and their fight for autonomy and justice.

In 1990 the state of South Dakota renamed Columbus Day to Native Americans’ Day to honor the many tribes of South Dakota. In 1992, Berkeley, California was the first to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day after an organized protest against the city’s plan to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus Day. John Curl, a resident of the city of Berkeley, led the committee that petitioned the city council to rename the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Christopher Columbus is a very controversial figure due to his involvement in the slave trade, and his abuse of the Native Americans he encountered when he was said to have “discovered” America, even though many diverse and complex tribes had already been on this land for thousands of years.

The colonization of the Western Hemisphere by the Europeans was a long, violent era. The Europeans brought sickness and bigotry with them to the “new world”. European colonialism resulted in the widespread death of indigenous people, destruction of their cultures and ways of life, and dislocation from their ancestral lands (Kelly, 2020).

Since the early 90’s many states across the nation have started recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of Columbus Day, to honor and celebrate the heritage and culture of the community. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is to recognize the continuing impact of European colonialism. Now, in 14 states and the District of Columbia, Indigenous Peoples Day is observed, and many other cities and towns are following suit. 

 

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Kelly, J. (2020, October 09). “Columbus Day” vs. “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”: What Should This Holiday Be Called? Retrieved October 12, 2020, from https://www.dictionary.com/e/indigenous-peoples-day-vs-columbus-day/     

 

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