Indigenous Peoples' Day

Indigenous Peoples' Day
Day 286- Indigenous Peoples Day (8084917906).jpg
Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration in Berkeley, California in 2012
Also calledFirst People’s Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Indian Day (Brazil), Columbus Day, or Native American Day
Observed byVarious states and municipalities in the Americas on Columbus Day.
TypeEthnic
SignificanceA day in honor of Native Indigenous Americans in opposition to the celebration of Columbus Day.
DateVaries
FrequencyAnnual
First timeOctober 12, 1992
Related toNational Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada

Indigenous Peoples' Day[1] is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities. It began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Many now reject celebrating him, saying that he represents "the violent history of the colonization in the Western Hemisphere".[2] Many activists believe that this holiday is a sanitation or covering-up of Christopher Columbus' actions such as enslaving Native Americans.[3] This Holiday can be seen as a recognition of Indigenous peoples who were oppressed by Christopher Columbus and other colonizers.

Indigenous People' Day began in 1989 in South Dakota, where Lynn Hart and Governor Mickelson backed a resolution to celebrate Native American day on the second Monday of October, marking the beginning of the year of reconciliation in 1990.[4] It was instituted in Berkeley, California, in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Two years later, Santa Cruz, California, instituted the holiday, and in the 2010s, various other cities and states took it up.[5]

It is similar to Native American Day, observed in September in California and Tennessee.[citation needed]

History[edit]

In 1977, the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, began to discuss replacing Columbus Day in the United States with a celebration to be known as Indigenous Peoples' Day.[6] Similarly, Native American groups staged a sort of protest in Boston instead of Thanksgiving, which has been celebrated there to mark collaboration between English colonists and Native Americans in the first years. In July 1990, at the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, representatives of indigenous groups throughout the Americas agreed that they would mark 1992, the 500th anniversary of the first of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, as a year to promote "continental unity" and "liberation".[7]

After the conference, attendees from Northern California organized protests against the "Quincentennial Jubilee" that had been organized by the United States Congress for the San Francisco Bay Area on Columbus Day in 1992. It was to include replicas of Columbus's ships sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and reenacting their "discovery" of America. The delegates formed the Bay Area Indian Alliance and in turn, the "Resistance 500" task force.[8] It promoted the idea that Columbus's "discovery" of inhabited lands and subsequent European colonization of these areas had resulted in the genocide of indigenous peoples by decisions of colonial and national governments.[9][10]

In 1992, the group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12 as a "Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People" and 1992 the "Year of Indigenous People". The city implemented related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day as "Indigenous Peoples' Day" beginning in 1992[11] to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the losses suffered by the Native American peoples and their cultures[12] through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation. Get Lost (Again) Columbus, an opera by a Native American composer, White Cloud Wolfhawk, was produced that day.[13] Berkeley has celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day ever since.[14] Beginning in 1993, Berkeley has also held an annual pow wow and festival on Indigenous Peoples' Day.[8]

In the years following Berkeley's action, other local governments and institutions have either renamed or canceled Columbus Day, either to celebrate Native American history and cultures, to avoid celebrating Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas, or due to raised controversy over the legacy of Columbus.[15] Several other California cities, including Richmond, Santa Cruz, and Sebastopol, now celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day and encourage people to donate to a neighboring tribe and recognize the trauma and pain indigenous peoples have been subjected to by colonizers.[15]

At least three states do not celebrate Columbus Day (Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota); South Dakota officially celebrates Native American Day instead.[5][16][17] Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day as "Native American Day", or have renamed the day after their own tribes.[18] In 2013, the California state legislature considered a bill, AB55, to formally replace Columbus Day with Native American Day but did not pass it.[19] On August 30, 2017, following similar affirmative votes in Oberlin, Ohio,[20] followed later by Bangor, Maine in the earlier weeks of the same month,[21] the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.[22] On October 10, 2019, just a few days before Columbus Day would be celebrated in Washington, D.C., the D.C. Council voted to temporarily replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day.[23] This bill was lead by Councilmember David Grosso and must undergo congressional approval to become permanent.[23]

Other celebrations[edit]

Numerous efforts in the Americas have honored Native American people as part of Columbus Day, or by designating two holidays for the same date.[12] Especially since Native American activism has increased since the 1960s and 1970s, a variety of protests have been staged against celebrating Columbus Day.[24] These have included mock trials of Christopher Columbus in St. Paul, Minnesota,[25] and protests and disruptions of Columbus Day parades in the United States.[26]

Indigenous peoples in other nations have also lobbied to have holidays established to recognize their contributions and history. For instance, Brazil celebrates "National Indigenous Peoples' Day" on April 19.[27] In the Philippines, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, as well as various local indigenous towns, designated October 29, 2008, as Indigenous Peoples' Day.[28]

Reception[edit]

Much controversy remains in the school system over Columbus's legacy and which holiday should be celebrated. Children in schools have been taught about Christopher Columbus as a hero, but the book Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, presents an argument that children should also be taught about the truth of what Christopher Columbus started and what effect his actions had upon the native people of the Americas.[29]

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People[edit]

In 1994, the United Nations declared an International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, establishing it on August 9.[30] This international holiday has been celebrated also in various nations.[31][32]

Observing locations[edit]

The following locations celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day, with the exceptions of Lewiston, New York,[33] Tompkins County, New York,[34] West Hartford, Connecticut,[35] and Lawton, Oklahoma,[36] which celebrate both.

Adopted 1989[edit]

Adopted 1992[edit]

Adopted 1994[edit]

Adopted 2014[edit]

Adopted 2015[edit]

Adopted 2016[edit]

Adopted 2017[edit]

Adopted 2018[edit]

Adopted 2019[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sometimes punctuated Indigenous "Peoples" or incorrectly "People's" Day
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External links[edit]