In the United States, 30 states now celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, or a holiday of a similar name, on the second Monday of October, as an official holiday or via proclamation. In 2021, Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day, however, he did not replace Columbus Day.
By commemorating Indigenous Peoples Day, we recognize colonization persists today and perpetuates oppression and violence against Indigenous Peoples as well as their sovereignty and self-determination.
Equally important is ending the celebration of Columbus Day, as a step towards disrupting these oppressive systems and shifting focus to recognizing, honoring, and celebrating Indigenous Peoples' knowledge, histories, cultures, traditions, and lands. It is an opportunity to learn about the Peoples whose land we occupy and now call home and to take action in supporting the rights and sovereignty of all Indigenous Peoples.
We extend an invitation to be part of a movement that designates the second Monday of October for recognizing historical and continual injustices, giving insight into the Indigenous Peoples within your community, and commemorating their rich cultures and traditions. Engage in this celebration through dance, food, performances, music, and film, by actively honoring Indigenous Peoples Day.
Here are some ways to celebrate and actions you can take today:
1. Learn Whose Land You Are On
2. Attend a local or virtual Indigenous Peoples Day event.
Click here for events in Massachusetts and for national or virtual events.
3. Donate to Indigenous-led organizations upholding Indigenous rights today.
Cultural Survival works on this issue nationally and internationally. We also invite you to support Indigenous-led organizations and Tribes local to your community. In Cambridge MA, where we are headquartered on Massachusett land, we partner with Native American Indian Center of Boston and United American Indians of New England, and support Eastern Woodland Rematriation. Also show your support for the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project, Native Land Conservancy, Wampanoag Trading Post and Gallery, The Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag, Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness, and our long-time Bazaar partner Sly Fox Den.
4. Stream Indigenous Rights Radio programs to amplify the national conversation about Indigenous Peoples Day
Indigenous Peoples Day 2022
In this radio program, we review the latest developments around Indigenous Peoples Day. We also hear what Christopher Columbus wrote about Indigenous Peoples in his diary.
Indigenous Peoples Day
IRR Producers Shaldon Ferris (Khoisan) and Avexnim Cojti (Maya K'iche') uncover the history of Indigenous resistance to colonization and the "discovery" narrative that perpetuates the celebration of Columbus and the erasure of Indigenous Peoples.
5. Support Indigenous creators:
6. Indigenize your music playlist
Listen to a playlist of Native music curated by IllumiNative on Spotify.
7. Read Indigenous Authors
8. Take Action to Change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day
9. Buy from and support Indigenous Artists
10. Get Involved in the Anti-Mascot Movement
There are still more than 1,000 high school, university, and professional teams that continue to have Native American mascots. Though changes have been made at the high school and collegiate levels, there is still more to be done with professional sports teams and other businesses. Start conversations to address the misrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in your community today. Check out our Abolishing Racist Native Mascots: A Toolkit for Change.
11. Amplify Indigenous Voices
Read and share "Why We Celebrate Indigenous People's Day" by Native News.
Read and share "Acts of Solidarity on Indigenous Peoples Day and Beyond" by Daisee Francour.
Read and share "Indigenous Peoples’ Day: A Call to Higher Consciousness" by Wakinyan LaPointe
Watch and share Columbus in His Own Words by John Kane.
12. Share IlumiNative's resources to support #
13. Read the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
14. Educate yourself on the #LandBack movement through LandBack U
15. Support Native Language Revitalization
Cultural Survival provides fellowships to Indigenous youth working on language revitalization. Meet our 2023 youth fellows and support a Cultural Survival youth fellow to learn and teach their Native language by donating at cs.org/donate.
16. Participate in the annual Indigenous People’s Day 5K Run hosted by Rising Hearts Organization.
Rising Hearts Organization is an Indigenous-led nonprofit that is dedicated to healing through exercise and movement. For this particular event, part of the proceeds go to 'Āina Momona to support their work and the frontline efforts to protect the people and the lands that have been devastated by the recent wildfires. You can sign up here.
17. Spread the Word!
One of the easiest and most effective things you can do is raise awareness about Indigenous Peoples. Forward, post this message on Facebook, Instagram, or tweet it! #IndigenousPeoplesDay #IndigenousPeoplesDay2023 #SinkColumbus