Why we now call it Indigenous Peoples Day

Why and how we better honor Native Americans


On Monday, Oct. 10, people all around America will recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, but very few know the true meaning of this day – or why we no longer call it its former name.

For years, it was believed that the European, Christopher Columbus, discovered America in mid-October 1492. Since this was such a historical moment, people dedicated the second Monday of Oct. to celebrate this event, naming it Columbus Day.

However, It has since been acknowledged that Columbus did not ‘discover’ America, he invaded it. He seized captives and occupied lands and enslaved people to get what he wanted and needed. This barely scratches the surface of Columbus’ reign of abuse, slavery, and terror.

Due to the history of Columbus, Columbus Day has always been extremely hurtful toward Native Americans. So instead, Indigenous Peoples Day is meant to celebrate their tribal roots and talk about the tragic stories that devastated but strengthened their communities.

According to National Today, this day was technically considered Columbus Day until 1937 but people haven’t actually abided by this until somewhat recently.

The fight for Indigenous Peoples Day has been a long and hard one, but according to National Today, “14 U.S. states celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and not Columbus Day, as well as the District of Columbia. More than 130 cities including Arlington, Amherst, Cambridge, Brookline, Marblehead, Great Barrington, Northampton, Provincetown, Somerville, and Salem also celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

It is because of this progress toward awareness that makes it crucial to acknowledge, remember and recognize this holiday by its rightful name: Indigenous Peoples Day.

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