When I was growing up, the second Monday in October was called Columbus Day because allegedly this guy comes in and “discovers” a continent where people were already living. Since the arrival of European colonizers, the people indigenous to North America have been repeatedly taken advantage of and systematically oppressed, along with pretty much every group of color.
Starting in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus “discovering” America, Indigenous People’s Day was officially instituted in Berkeley, California. Numerous counter-celebrations led up to this moment, and it was soon adopted as an official holiday by other places. As of October 11, 2021, it’s an officially recognized holiday in 13 states; and 2021 marks the first time that a US President gives formal acknowledgment to the holiday.
Indigenous People’s Day is but one of so many holidays that have pretty dark origins in general, not to mention the amount of whitewashing that was done in regards to the real story – along with other colonizer holidays (looking at you, Thanksgiving).
The internet is a wealth of knowledge and resources in helping you learn more about problematic holidays. Illuminatives has a wonderful toolkit to help you advocate in your area, and in general. Learning for Justice is also an amazing wealth of resources for personal, classroom, and professional settings looking to expand their education. The Conversation has a list of good books to start your education with as well.
Please see the list directly below for links to donate to Indigenous Peoples. Some links also feature further education on the holiday itself. I personally donated to the Warrior Women Project.
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