The Movement for Black Lives has inspired people to protest and reject racist symbols and institutions.
This has led to several positive changes for Native people, including the renaming of the Washington NFL team, exposure of medical racism in Indian Country, and removal of racist monuments. However, Columbus Day remains a widely celebrated holiday in the U.S. that glorifies a false narrative of America’s founding and erases the genocide of Native peoples.
Research has shown that the lack of representation of Native peoples in mainstream society creates a void that limits the understanding and knowledge that Americans have of Native communities. Pop culture, media, and K-12 education have institutionalized the erasure of Native peoples to the point that 78% of Americans admit they know little to nothing about Native Americans. A significant number are also not sure Native Americans still exist.
It’s important that we acknowledge that Americans have been fed a false history. The story told of Native peoples in history books erases the trauma and persecution carried out upon Native communities and ignores the truth of our resiliency and strength.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October in the United States, in lieu of Columbus Day. Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an important part of our movement — it is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate Native peoples, our resiliency and our future, in the present.
Native Americans have, and continue to contribute, to the fabric of this country. It is crucial that Native communities and our allies fight for authentic, accurate, and contemporary representations of Native Americans and advocate for the recognition and celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in their communities.
For more information, please visit illuminatives.org.