What Is It?
Indigenous People’s Day is a day to acknowledge the history of the indigenous peoples of the US and to celebrate the resilience of the Native American culture and the vitality of their people. The conversation of celebrating Indigenous People’s Day rather than Columbus Day dates back to the beginning of the Civil Rights movement in the late 1950s when the nation was fighting for racial equality. Native Americans aimed to become politically visible and stop the inequality and discrimination of their people.
Malinda Maynor Lawry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says:
"Columbus Day affirms the narrative of a nation created by Europeans for Europeans. Indigenous Peoples’ Day helps us reflect on native histories and native people in this discussion of what it means to be American.”
Who Celebrates It?
There are more than 600 Native Nations and about 6.8 million Americans who identify as Native American in the U.S. today, but “the holiday also gives non-Native people the chance to gain a better understanding of Native communities.” Berkley, California was the first city to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day in 1992. Sometime after, 14 states and more than 130 cities followed in their footsteps and also recognize this holiday in the United States.
How you can celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day
Indigenous Peoples' Day is celebrated alongside or instead of Christopher Columbus Day on the second Monday of October, which happens to be Monday, October 11th in 2021. Here are a few ways both Native Indigenous and non-Native people can celebrate this holiday:
Visit clarinet-bison-s97a.squarespace.com/indigenous-ally-toolkit to learn the steps to being an Indigenous Ally and review the "Toolkit" for tips on how to properly address the Indigenous peoples along with some "Do's" and "Don'ts" for non-Native people.
Log on to Native Knowledge 360° at americanindian.si.edu/nk360 to learn and educate others about Native Americans.
Advocate for Indigenous Peoples' Day
Download "An Advocate's Guide to Supporting Indigenous Peoples' Day" to learn more about being an advocate to the indigenous peoples at illuminatives.org/indigenouspeoplesday/
Native Knowledge 360° is also a great site to find upcoming webinars and interactive resources about Indigenous People's Day.
Read Works Written by Indigenous Artists
Find these books along with others on this long list of social justice books created by founder and co-editor of American Indians in Children’s Literature, Dr. Debbie Reese at https://socialjusticebooks.org/booklists/american-indians/.
Elatose by Darcie Little Badger is a fantasy/murder mystery/paranormal story of Elatose (Ellie for short). She is the asexual, Apache teen protagonist who has supernatural powers that help her investigate the murder of her cousin.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich is a fictional coming-of-age story of a young boy growing up in an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota.
"Rethinking How We Celebrate American History—Indigenous Peoples’ Day"
Smithsonian Magazine https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-
"What is the History Behind Indigenous People's Day," University of North Carolina.
"What is Indigenous People's Day" Do Something. Org.