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Indigenous Peoples' Day

Oct 12, 2017

Indigenous Peoples' Day, according to Wikipedia, also known as Native American Day is a holiday that celebrates the Indigenous peoples of North America. It is 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 theInternational Indian Treaty Council, and Denver, Colorado, and now in Vermont, 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. Indigenous Peoples' Day is usually held on the second Monday of October, coinciding with the federal observance of Columbus Day. It is similar to Native American Day, observed in September in California and Tennessee, and the same day as Indigenous Peoples' Day in South Dakota.
 
History
 
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. Similarly, Native American groups staged actions in Boston, Massachusettsinstead 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."
 
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 theSan 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. 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.
 
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 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 through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation. Get Lost (Again) Columbus, an opera by a Native American composer, was produced that day. Berkeley has celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day ever since. Beginning in 1993, Berkeley has also held an annual pow wow and festival on Indigenous Peoples' Day.
 
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. Several other California cities, including Richmond, Santa Cruz, and Sebastopol, now celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day and on these days all people are encouraged to dress up in Indigenous Peoples' costumes.
 
At least four states do not celebrate Columbus Day (Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota); South Dakota officially celebrates Native American Day instead. Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day as "Native American Day", or have renamed the day after their own tribes. In 2013, the California state legislature considered a bill, AB55, to formally replace Columbus Day with Native American Day but did not pass it.
 
Other celebrations
 
Numerous efforts in the Americas have honored Native Americans as part of Columbus Day, or by designating two holidays for the same date. Especially since Native American activism has increased since the 1960s and 1970s, a variety of protests have been staged against celebrating Columbus Day. These have included mock trials of Christopher Columbus, an insurgent offensive in Peru by the Shining Path guerrillas, and protests and disruptions of Columbus Day parades in the United States.
 
Indigenous peoples in other nations have also lobbied to have holidays established to recognize their contributions and history. For instance, Brazil celebrates "National Indigenous Peoples' Day" on April 19. In the Philippines, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, as well as various local indigenous towns, designated October 29, 2008, as Indigenous Peoples' Day.
 
 
Image:  Columbus greeted by indigenous people - teachers.d11.org



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