Acknowledge, Educate, Celebrate

Correct the Holiday and Celebrate: Indigenous Peoples Day

It was the Monday before Thanksgiving, and my second grade classroom was buzzing with excitement. Cutouts of pilgrims lined the walls as we passed around colorful paper and bottles of glue, the anticipation of a holiday break looming cheerily over our heads. Making crafts was an annual tradition almost as common as stuffing the turkey—and to a seven-year-old, it was a whole lot more fun. Currently, I am finishing up my favorite project; the American Indian headband. I liked the way the feathers stuck out, and the fact that I could wear it. The reality that the craft was born of extreme Eurocentric generalizations of many distinct, flourishing cultures was way off my radar. 

On October 11, a new yet somehow old holiday will be celebrated. Indigenous peoples Day, formally known as Columbus Day, is a day where we honor Native Indigenous Americans in opposition to the celebration of Columbus Day. Although, it is told in History books that Christopher Columbus founded America, this is not the case. 

October 11, 1992 was the day that officially honored Native Indigenous Americans, opposed to the celebration of Columbus Day. This day was the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage. This day became known as the birth of Indigenous peoples Day due to the peaceful protest that occurred on this day. Columbus Day only lasted 21 years due to it becoming a legal holiday in 1971. Six years later the thought of Indigenous Peoples Day was considered, but not finalized. When asked about the importance of the label change, Ryan Molinare stated that, “It is incredibly important that we change the label from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. If this was still ignored after 1992, we would have a corrupt person being honored by celebrating him.” So why is Columbus corrupt? Murphy Shimamoto believes, “Columbus should not be represented by America due to his consistent disrespect to the Native American people.” Columbus was considered a negative person for America due to him never passing the Caribbean and never setting foot on the Native American mainland. He also was the cause of the genocide of the first nations’ people. Columbus was credited with discovering America when it was the Native Americans. Overall the Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday allows the native Americans to feel completely free and vindicated as a result of the holiday. 

Some Indigenous Peoples’ Day traditions include amplifying Indigenous voices, sharing resources to support Indigenous people, and learning about whose land you are on. It is essential to learn about one’s history regarding America.