The History of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

In fourteen hundred ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue

American children are taught this song about Christopher Columbus’ journey across the Atlantic Ocean and how courageous it was when he arrived on our shores on October 12th. However, until recently, the indigenous people residing in North America were left out of the historical narrative. Since the early 1990s, cities, universities, and states have shed light on moving away from the traditional Columbus Day to now celebrating the history of Native Americans and the first people of this land as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Though this new observance has not become a federal holiday, many states like Oregon, Nevada, Vermont, Alaska, Maine, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Minnesota observe this holiday while Hawaii celebrates Discoverers’ Day.

The second Monday in October may just be another three-day weekend to many. But, this year can be different. Here are five ways you can celebrate and appreciate Native American history on Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2021.

  1. Read books by Native American authors
  2. Visit museums about Native American history
  3. Teach children about the reality of colonialism and colonization and the impact on native communities
  4. Support your local indigenous communities and artists
  5. Discover IllumiNative’s Advocates Guide to Supporting Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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