Today is Indigenous Peoples Day. President Joe Biden’s proclamation officially states that October 11, 2021 will be a day to “honor America’s first residents and the tribal nations that thrive to this day.”
An article written by Emma Bowman on NPR states that “the move shifts focus from Columbus Day, the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus, which this year coincides with Indigenous Peoples Day.”
What is Indigenous Peoples Day?
It is a holiday that celebrates indigenous peoples and commemorates their history. Indigenous Peoples Day is a day of reflection, recognition, appreciation and education.
Celebrate against Columbus Day
It started as a day to counter the U.S. federal holiday, Columbus Day. Many reject the holiday in honor of the Italian explorer Christopher Colombus due to the violent colonial history. Its exploration led to genocide and slavery.
Biden explains in his proclamation: “Today we also recognize the painful history of injustice and atrocities that many European explorers have inflicted on tribal peoples and indigenous communities.”
In addition, he says, “federal politics has systematically tried for generations to assimilate and evict indigenous people and eradicate indigenous cultures,” wrote Biden in the proclamation on Indigenous Peoples Day. “… we recognize the resilience and strength of the indigenous peoples and the immeasurable positive influence they have had on every aspect of American society.”
10 ways to celebrate and support
In 2019, in solidarity with the indigenous peoples, Wisconsin officially began to celebrate this holiday instead of Colombus Day. Now the nation is officially doing. How can we celebrate this day?
- Hear indigenous music made and produced by indigenous peoples
- Buy art from indigenous peoples
- Practice using appropriate terms and language
- Read books by indigenous authors and illustrators
- Donate to indigenous peoples and Native-led nonprofits
- In Wisconsin:
- Follow indigenous activists and influencers
- Shina Nova – Inuk larynx singer
- Melepolynesian content creator / teacher
- Focus on the tribes that are native to your area
- Understand the tribal lands of Wisconsin
- Visit or log in to make a reservation
Governor Evers signs Indigenous Peoples Day Implementing Ordinance, formally recognizing and apologizing for the state’s historic role in Indian boarding schools. Read about it here.
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