To recognize the generations of genocide and oppression which followed Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, more and more cities and states are choosing to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Now, why should we celebrate this day? Well, because it recognizes the injustices committed against Native Americans and honors the culture, history, and wisdom of Indigenous peoples. Cities like Los Angeles and Portland, as well as states like Maine, Alaska, Vermont, and more choose to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day today. Whether your city or state celebrates the day officially or not, here are a few ideas on how you and your family can celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
Recognize the land you live on
The land you live on most likely once belonged to Indigenous people. Learning about the people who originally inhabited your region is a great first step in honoring Indigenous communities. If you’re not sure which tribes lived or live near you, this map is a great resource.
Use literature as a resource
Unfortunately, much of the information we were taught in school regarding colonization was biased or incomplete. Reading books by Native American authors can help broaden your perspective on Indigenous culture and history, plus, sharing these books with your children can help ensure they grow up with a more nuanced understanding of history.
Some good book choices include An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer; and An American Sunrise, a book of poems by Joy Harjo. Good books for young children include We Are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom and Native Americans in History: A History Book for Kids by Jimmy Beason.
Donate to and learn about Native American and Indigenous advocacy organizations
There are many groups working to protect and uplift Indigenous communities around the US and beyond. Here are just a few you can donate to and support.
Indigenous Environmental Network – This group advocates for environmental and economic justice for Indigenous communities in the US.
Seeding Sovereignty – By focusing on food sovereignty work, this organization works to ensure that Indigenous peoples around the US have access to food that is nutritious, culturally appropriate, and sustainably produced.
Honor the Earth – This organization focuses on raising awareness of environmental issues which impact Indigenous communities.
Native American Rights Fund – This fund provides free legal aid to Indigenous tribes, groups, and peoples.