In case you didn’t know October 8th, is Indigenous People’s Day–Hooray! This is a fairly new holiday that has gained notoriety in the past few years, but still has a ways to go before it is a mainstream day of recognition. In case you have never heard of it, or are confused as to what exactly it is, I did a (very) little research for you all. Here’s what I dug up.
Indigenous People’s Day started in 1989 as a counter celebration to Columbus Day, both recognized the second Monday of October. Columbus Day is a federal holiday in the United States that celebrates Christopher Columbus’ historic landing in the Americas. Since socially sensitive folks have come to see Columbus’ arrival in America as an invasion as opposed to a discovery, the idea started 30ish years ago to instead celebrate the history and culture of America’s indigenous people instead of the explorer who marked the beginning of centuries of oppression and annihilation of these peoples.
Indigenous People’s Day has been adopted by various local governments in the United States since 1990, however the federal government and most citizens still know the day as Columbus Day. To confuse matters more, in 1994, the United Nations declared August 9th as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. I have never heard of this before today, so clearly I either live under a rock, or the UN’s day never caught on in the mainstream. The UN’s August 9th day is specifically for all indigenous people of the world, while the October day is geared more towards the recognition of Native Americans as it’s correlation with Columbus Day.