On this day: Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat
December 01, 2023
By Jenny Horn
Indigenous Peoples’ Day has garnered more support, celebration, and recognition in recent years due to the increased awareness of the countless atrocities committed by colonizers against Native American and Indigenous communities across what eventually became the United States of America. Often acknowledged as a replacement for Columbus Day, it’s important to learn why today’s acknowledgement and celebration of the Indigenous community is crucial in moving forward in solidarity.
The history behind the controversial Columbus Day is often glossed over and misrepresented. Christopher Columbus committed serious, intense atrocities against indigenous individuals and communities amongst his explorations. He enslaved Native communities, enabled and even encouraged the sexual assault of Indigenous women and girls, and introduced the Western slave trade to the regions he encountered, amongst a plethora of other gross treatments and practices.
Thus, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a day to recognize Indigenous people and the extensive contributions they’re made to history and today’s society, as well as to mourn those lost to genocide and Western colonization. Native Americans were here in America long before European settlers showed up, and it is the many Indigenous communities we have to thank today for the early and continued cultivation of our country and land. In 1977, the United Nations Internaitonal Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas proposed that Indigenous Peoples Day replace Columbus Day, and here we are today.
Recognized the same day as Columbus Day each year – the second Monday in October, this year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day takes place on October 10. While the day is more closely associated with recognition and mourning than general celebration, you can support today by educating yourself and others on the history of the many Indigenous and Native American cultures, contributions, and histories.