On October 8, 2021, President Joe Biden became the first sitting United States president to issue a presidential proclamation declaring October 11 Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“Since time immemorial, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians have built vibrant and diverse cultures — safeguarding land, language, spirit, knowledge, and tradition across the generations,” the proclamation read. “On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, our Nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations.”
In support of having a more accurate view of U.S. history, each year more and more states, cities and local jurisdictions have declared the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in place of or in addition to Columbus Day.
Per the excellent 2020 Smithsonian article Rethinking How We Celebrate American History—Indigenous Peoples’ Day, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes that Native people are the first inhabitants of the Americas, including the lands that later became the United States of America. And it urges Americans to rethink history.”
The article goes on to say “Mythology about Columbus and the ‘discovery’ of the Americas continues to be many American children’s first classroom lesson about encountering different cultures, ethnicities, and peoples. Teaching more accurate and complete narratives and differing perspectives is key to our society’s rethinking its history.”
Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes, honors and celebrates the rich history and beautiful traditions and cultures of the Indigenous People.
For more information, please see:
- A Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2021 (The White House)
- Rethinking How We Celebrate American History—Indigenous Peoples’ Day (The Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of the American Indian)
- Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2021: 5 Ways to Honor the Holiday (Toast)