Today, Americans have reserved a time to observe the “discovery” of our land by explorer, Christopher Columbus, centuries ago. However, in recent years, people have been critical of the holiday, calling Columbus a pillager that was a villain to the people who already inhabited the lands that he “discovered.” If you are of the belief that Columbus was not a man that should be immortalized with a national holiday, maybe observing “Indigenous Peoples Day” is for you. This is day that a few places have adopted in opposition to (really, abolish) Columbus Day, in which the resilience of the Native American tribes is celebrated. This year, Indigenous Peoples Day is observed largely in places with high populations of Native Americans. Seattle and Minneapolis are the pioneers of this day, but the following have followed suit this year (information provided by USUncut.com):
- Albuquerque, New Mexico – The city’s formal declaration”encourages businesses, organizations and public entities to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, which shall be used to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that our Indigenous nations add to our City.”
- Lawrence, KS – Since September, students from Haskell University in Lawrence, Kansas have been taking initiative and pushing for the city to honor their ancestors by declaring October 12th Indigenous Peoples’ day. Just this Wednesday, they won.
- Portland, OR – Portland’s City Council declared Indigenous Peoples’ day on Tuesday, something tribal leaders have been seeking since 1954.
- St. Paul, MN – In August, St. Paul followed Minneapolis by declaring Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day. Minneapolis passed its own resolution last year.
- Bexar County, TX – The resolution was passed Tuesday, and local activists intend to press for the same thing in San Antonio.
- Anadarko, OK – In September, Anadarko declared Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Anadarko Mayor Kyle Eastwood signed the proclamation while surrounded by tribal leaders from the Apache, Choctaw, Delaware, Wichita and others.
- Olympia, WA – Mayor Pro Tem Nathaniel Jones presented Olympia’s proclamation at a rally in August. Nearly 150 people showed up to support the initiative.
- Alpena, MI – In September, Mayor Matt Waligora declared Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The city says they desire “to develop a strong and productive relationship with all indigenous peoples, including the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, based on mutual respect and trust.”
Oklahoma City came close to celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day, but the people there are hoping to pass something through tomorrow, so they can next year. If you want to abolish Columbus Day and see Indigenous Peoples Day celebrated in your town, organize, gather support and urge your local government to make the change.