Indigenous Peoples’ Day – 2016!

Honouring my Native American heritage today – Indigenous Peoples’ Day! Washington state is one of four that recognize this day. Here’s a bit of information for those who are unaware of what this day means. From Wikipedia:

Indigenous Peoples’ Day[1] (also known as Native American Day) is a holiday celebrated in various localities in the United States. It began as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day, promoting Native American culture and commemorating the history of Native American peoples. The celebration began in Berkeley, California, through the International Indian Treaty Council, and Denver, Colorado, as a protest against Columbus Day. The latter is observed as a federal holiday in the United States, but it is not observed as a state holiday in every state, and most retail enterprises stay open.[2] Indigenous Peoples’ Day is usually held on the second Monday of October, coinciding with the federal observance of Columbus Day.[3]

In 1977 the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, began to discuss replacing Columbus Day in the United States with a celebration to be known as Indigenous Peoples Day.[4] Similarly, Native American groups staged actions in Boston, Massachusetts instead of Thanksgiving, which has been celebrated there to mark collaboration between English colonists and Native Americans in the first years. In July 1990, at the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, representatives of Indian groups throughout the Americas agreed that they would mark 1992, the 500th anniversary of the first of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, as a year to promote “continental unity” and “liberation.” [5]

After the conference, attendees from Northern California organized to plan protests against the “Quincentennial Jubilee” that had been organized by the United States Congress for the San Francisco Bay Area on Columbus Day 1992. It was to include replicas of Columbus’ ships sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and reenacting their “discovery” of America. The delegates formed the Bay Area Indian Alliance, and, in turn, the “Resistance 500” task force.[6] It promoted the idea that Columbus’ “discovery” of an inhabited lands and subsequent European colonization of these areas had resulted in the genocide of indigenous peoples by decisions of colonial and national governments.[7][8]

In 1992, the group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12 as a “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People”, and 1992 the “Year of Indigenous People.” The city implemented related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” beginning in 1992[9] to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the losses suffered by the Native American peoples and their cultures[10] through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation. Get Lost (Again) Columbus, an opera by a Native American composer, was produced that day.[11] Berkeley has celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day ever since.[12] Beginning in 1993, Berkeley has also held an annual pow wow and festival on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.[6]

In the years following Berkeley’s action, other local governments and institutions have either renamed or canceled Columbus Day, either to celebrate Native American history and cultures, to avoid celebrating Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas, or due to raised controversy over the legacy of Columbus.[13] Several other California cities, including Richmond, Sebastopol, and Santa Cruz, now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.[13]

At least four states do not celebrate Columbus Day (Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota); South Dakota officially celebrates Native American Day instead.[3][14][15] Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day as “Native American Day”, or have renamed the day after their own tribes.[16] In 2013, the California state legislature considered a bill, AB55, to replace Columbus Day formally with Native American Day but did not pass it.[17]

(Author’s Note: Wikipedia has not been updated to reflect this, but Washington State should be listed here; to my knowledge, Columbus Day is not celebrated as a holiday in this state.)

My maternal great-grandmother was of the Blackfoot tribe; my paternal great-grandmother was a member of the Choctaw Nation. My heritage also includes the Crow Nation. I know that I’m not accepted by my Native American cousins; still, that doesn’t stop me from acknowledging my multi-cultural heritage, and standing with my brothers and sisters of all nations.

Please enjoy these songs. Blessed Be…Namaste.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sheldonk2014
    Oct 10, 2016 @ 18:46:22

    There’s another person who I follow who talks about her heritage
    From the Choctaw
    I have to find her for you
    As always Sheldon

  2. Vive les chats!
    Oct 10, 2016 @ 22:51:54

    Thank you for sharing

  3. adeleulnais
    Oct 12, 2016 @ 01:48:39

    Thank you for sharing this I will re blog the message onward.

  4. adeleulnais
    Oct 12, 2016 @ 01:49:28

    Reblogged this on firefly465.

  5. Trackback: Indigenous Peoples’ Day – 2016! – Kate McClelland
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