Indigenous Peoples' Day

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Indigenous Peoples' Day
Day 286- Indigenous Peoples Day (8084917906).jpg
Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration in Berkeley, California in 2012.
Also called First People’s Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Indian Day (Brazil), or Native American Day
Observed by Various states and municipalities in the Americas.
Type Ethnic
Significance A day in honor of Native Indigenous Americans.
Date Varies
Frequency Annual
First time October 12, 1992
Related to National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada

Indigenous Peoples' Day[1] is a holiday that celebrates the Indigenous peoples of America. It is celebrated across the United States, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities around the country. It began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors European explorer Christopher Columbus. Indigenous Peoples' Day is intended to celebrate Native Americans and commemorate their shared history and culture.

The holiday was first instituted in Berkeley, California in 1992, coinciding with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. It later spread to Santa Cruz, California in 1994, and then to various other cities and states beginning in the mid-to-late 2010s. Indigenous Peoples' Day is held on the second Monday of October, coinciding with the designated date for the federal observance of Columbus Day.[2] It is similar to Native American Day, observed in September in California and Tennessee, and the same day as Indigenous Peoples' Day in South Dakota. Some critics have criticized such celebrations as a kind of political correctness.


In 1977, the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, began to discuss replacing Columbus Day in the United States with a celebration to be known as Indigenous Peoples Day.[3] Similarly, Native American groups staged actions in Boston, Massachusetts instead of Thanksgiving, which has been celebrated there to mark collaboration between English colonists and Native Americans in the first years. In July 1990, at the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, representatives of Indian groups throughout the Americas agreed that they would mark 1992, the 500th anniversary of the first of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, as a year to promote "continental unity" and "liberation." [4]

After the conference, attendees from Northern California organized to plan protests against the "Quincentennial Jubilee" that had been organized by the United States Congress for the San Francisco Bay Area on Columbus Day 1992. It was to include replicas of Columbus' ships sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and reenacting their "discovery" of America. The delegates formed the Bay Area Indian Alliance and in turn, the "Resistance 500" task force.[5] It promoted the idea that Columbus' "discovery" of an inhabited lands and subsequent European colonization of these areas had resulted in the genocide of indigenous peoples by decisions of colonial and national governments.[6][7]

In 1992, the group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12 as a "Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People", and 1992 the "Year of Indigenous People". The city implemented related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day as "Indigenous Peoples' Day" beginning in 1992[8] to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the losses suffered by the Native American peoples and their cultures[9] through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation. Get Lost (Again) Columbus, an opera by a Native American composer, was produced that day.[10] Berkeley has celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day ever since.[11] Beginning in 1993, Berkeley has also held an annual pow wow and festival on Indigenous Peoples' Day.[5]

In the years following Berkeley's action, other local governments and institutions have either renamed or canceled Columbus Day, either to celebrate Native American history and cultures, to avoid celebrating Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas, or due to raised controversy over the legacy of Columbus.[12] Several other California cities, including Richmond, Santa Cruz, and Sebastopol, now celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day and on this day all people are encouraged to donate to a neighboring tribe and recognize the trauma and pain indigenous peoples have been subjected to by colonizers. [12]

At least four states do not celebrate Columbus Day (Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota); South Dakota officially celebrates Native American Day instead.[2][13][14] Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day as "Native American Day", or have renamed the day after their own tribes.[15] In 2013, the California state legislature considered a bill, AB55, to formally replace Columbus Day with Native American Day but did not pass it.[16] On August 30, 2017, following similar affirmative votes in Oberlin, Ohio[17], followed later by Bangor, Maine in the earlier weeks of the same month,[18] the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.[19]

Other celebrations[edit]

Numerous efforts in the Americas have honored Native Americans as part of Columbus Day, or by designating two holidays for the same date.[9] Especially since Native American activism has increased since the 1960s and 1970s, a variety of protests have been staged against celebrating Columbus Day.[20] These have included mock trials of Christopher Columbus,[citation needed][where?] and protests and disruptions of Columbus Day parades in the United States.[21]

Indigenous peoples in other nations have also lobbied to have holidays established to recognize their contributions and history. For instance, Brazil celebrates "National Indigenous Peoples' Day" on April 19.[22] In the Philippines, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, as well as various local indigenous towns, designated October 29, 2008, as Indigenous Peoples' Day.[23]

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People[edit]

In 1994, the United Nations declared an International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, establishing it on August 9.[24] This international holiday has been celebrated also in various nations. [25][26]

Observing locations[edit]

The following locations celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day, with the exceptions of Lewiston, New York[27], and Lawton, Oklahoma, [28] which celebrate both.

Adopted 1992[edit]

  • Berkeley, California[29]

Adopted 1994[edit]

  • Santa Cruz, California[30]

Adopted 2014[edit]

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota[31]
  • Seattle, Washington[32]
  • Grand Rapids, Minnesota[33]
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato

Adopted 2015[edit]

  • St. Paul, Minnesota[34]
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico[35]
  • Portland, Oregon[36]
  • Traverse City, Michigan[37]
  • Akron/Newstead, New York[38]
  • Olympia, Washington[39]
  • Village of Lewiston, New York[40]
  • Anadarko, Oklahoma[41]
  • Carrboro, North Carolina[42]
  • Belfast, Maine[43]
  • San Fernando, California[44]
  • Alpena, Michigan[45]
  • Bexar County, Texas[46]
  • Fargo, North Dakota[47]
  • Grand Marais and Cook County, MN[48]

Adopted 2016[edit]

  • Denver, Colorado[49]
  • Madison, Wisconsin[50]
  • State of Minnesota[51]
  • State of Vermont[52]
  • University of Utah
  • Brown University
  • Cornell University
  • Syracuse University[53]
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan[54]
  • Spokane, Washington[54]
  • Bainbridge Island, Washington[55]
  • East Lansing, Michigan[56]
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico[57]
  • Phoenix, Arizona[58]
  • State of Alaska[59]
  • Ypsilanti, Michigan[60]
  • Durango, Colorado[61]
  • Asheville, North Carolina[62]
  • Eugene, Oregon[63]
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts[64][65]
  • Boulder, Colorado[66]
  • Harpers Ferry, West Virginia[67]
  • Lawrence, Kansas[68]
  • Amherst, Massachusetts[69]
  • Northampton, Massachusetts[70]
  • Bozeman, Montana[71]

Adopted 2017[edit]

Adopted 2018[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sometimes punctuated Indigenous "Peoples" or incorrectly "People's" Day
  2. ^ a b Thomas J. Morgan (April 9, 2009). "Brown casts off Columbus, agreeing to forgo celebrating his day". Rhode Island Journal. 
  3. ^ R.S. Sriyananda (August 7, 2009). "Celebrating peoples of Yore". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 
  4. ^ "Declaration of Quito, Ecuador". Indigenous Alliance of the Americas on 500 Years of Resistance. July 1990. 
  5. ^ a b Katlyn Carter (January 10, 2005). "Berkeley Celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day". Daily Californian. 
  6. ^ "`Indigenous Peoples Day' to Replace Columbus Celebration". Los Angeles Times. January 11, 1992. 
  7. ^ Michael S. Arnold (October 12, 1992). "Protesters Stop Mock Landing of Columbus". Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ "Berkeley Postpones Fate of Columbus Day". San Jose Mercury News. July 17, 1992. 
  9. ^ a b Roger Petterson (October 13, 1992). "Columbus Day Stirs Debate Across America". Associated Press. 
  10. ^ James Barron (October 12, 1992). "He's the Explorer/Exploiter You Just Have to Love/Hate". New York Times. 
  11. ^ Richard C. Paddock (January 13, 2008). "UC Berkeley's bones of contention". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ a b Conor Dougherty and Sudeep Reddy (October 10, 2009). "Is Columbus Day Sailing Off the Calendar". Wall Street Journal. 
  13. ^ "South Dakota Codified Laws". 
  14. ^ "Chapter 187 — Holidays; Standard of Time; Commemorations". State of Oregon. Oregon Legislative Website. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  15. ^ Clifton Adcock (October 13, 2008). "Holiday not celebrated by tribes: American Indians see Columbus Day as a reminder of harsh treatment ages ago". Tulsa World. 
  16. ^ "Columbus Day To Native American Day? CA Assemblyman Roger Hernandez Introduces Bill AB 55". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 12, 2015. In December 2015 The Belfast, Maine City Council approved a resolution to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, making it the first city east of the Mississippi to take this historic step. It was first celebrated in October 2016 with a weekend of events planned and produced in full cooperation with our local Wabanaki communities, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, and Mi'kmaq.
  17. ^ Reid, Melissa (August 21, 2017). "City of Oberlin officially abolishes Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day". WJW (TV). Retrieved August 31, 2017. In a unanimous vote Monday night, Oberlin City Council voted to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day. 
  18. ^ "Bangor Renaming Columbus Day as 'Indigenous Peoples Day'". U.S. News and World Report. August 29, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017. One of the biggest cities in Maine is renaming the second Monday in October as "Indigenous Peoples Day" instead of Columbus Day...WMTW-TV reports the Bangor City Council approved the change on Monday. Belfast, Maine, became the first city in the state to make the change in 2015...Bangor officials say in public records that the renamed holiday "will provide an opportunity for our community to recognize and celebrate the Indigenous Peoples of our region." They specifically site the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Penobscot Indian Nation and the Passamaquoddy tribe. 
  19. ^ "LA City Council votes to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day". KABC-TV. August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017. The Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to replace the Columbus Day holiday with Indigenous Peoples Day...Councilmembers voted 14-1 to make the second Monday in October a day to commemorate indigenous, aboriginal and native people. It will be a paid holiday for city employees. 
  20. ^ Sam Stanton (October 9, 1992). "Columbus Feted Despite His Fall from Grace". McClatchey News Service. 
  21. ^ Keith Coffman, "Columbus Day protest in Denver leads to arrests", Reuters, October 6, 2007.
  22. ^ Mario Osava (April 16, 2009). "Dispossessed Demand Land, Health, Justice". Inter Press Service. 
  23. ^ Nony Basco (November 1, 2008). "Panay-Bukidnon celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day". ABS-CBN News. 
  24. ^ Dag Hammarskjöld Library: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People Archived November 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ "Low Health Standards Highlighted On Indigenous Peoples' Day". News Room America. August 9, 2009. 
  26. ^ "World Indigenous Day celebrated in Khagrachhari". The Daily Star. August 9, 2009. 
  27. ^, Joan McDonough. "Village of Lewiston celebrating both Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day on Monday". Niagara Gazette. Retrieved 2018-01-11. 
  28. ^ a b "Lawton to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day". The Lawton Constitution. Retrieved 2018-01-11. 
  29. ^ "Replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day is a long overdue victory for civil rights". Los Angeles Times. 2017-09-01. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  30. ^ "Indigenous Peoples' Day marked". Santa Cruz Sentinel. 1994-10-13. Retrieved 2017-09-25. 
  31. ^ "Minneapolis Renames Columbus Day As Indigenous Peoples Day". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  32. ^ "Seattle Swaps Columbus Day For 'Indigenous Peoples' Day'". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  33. ^ Karels, Lasha. "Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration 2017". Retrieved 2017-10-03. 
  34. ^ "Gallery: St. Paul's first official Indigenous Peoples Day". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  35. ^ "Victory! Albuquerque Declares Indigenous Peoples Day". 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  36. ^ "Portland joins Indigenous Peoples' Day movement". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  37. ^ "Traverse City approves Indigenous Peoples Day". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  38. ^ O'Brien, Barbara (2015-10-08). "Newstead prepares for its first Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  39. ^ "Olympia to honor Indigenous Peoples' Day". theolympian. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  40. ^, Joan McDonough. "Village of Lewiston celebrating both Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day on Monday". Niagara Gazette. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  41. ^ "Anadarko now officially recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day". Red Dirt Report. 2015-09-28. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  42. ^ "Carrboro declares 'Indigenous Peoples' Day'". newsobserver. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  43. ^ Curtis, Abigail; Staff, B. D. N. "Belfast council renames Columbus holiday Indigenous Peoples Day". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  44. ^ "San Fernando to Host Indigenous Peoples Day Festival with Local Tribe". The San Fernando Valley Sun. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  45. ^ "Ypsi may dump Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  46. ^ Reagan, Mark. "Bexar County Designates October 12 as Indigenous Peoples Day". San Antonio Current. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  47. ^ "Fargo changes Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day". Retrieved 2018-09-10. 
  48. ^ "Cook County Celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day | Northern Wilds". Retrieved 2018-09-14. 
  49. ^ "Denver approves permanent recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day on Columbus Day". The Denver Post. 2016-10-04. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  50. ^ "Madison proclaims Oct. 10 Indigenous Peoples Day, running counter to Columbus Day". The Wisconsin State Journal. 2016-10-07. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  51. ^ "Indigenous Peoples Day Proclamation" (PDF). 2016-10-10. 
  52. ^ "State Of Vermont Indigenous Peoples Day Proclamation" (PDF). 
  53. ^ "University Community Honors Indigenous Peoples' Day". October 2016. 
  54. ^ a b "Ann Arbor to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  55. ^ "City Celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day on October 10 at City Hall". 
  56. ^ "East Lansing swaps out Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  57. ^ Daniel J. Chacón, The New Mexican. "Santa Fe to honor Natives with Indigenous Peoples Day". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  58. ^ "Take That, Columbus: Indigenous Peoples' Day Unanimously Passes in Phoenix - Indian Country Media Network". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  59. ^ "Columbus Day renamed Indigenous Peoples Day in Alaska". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  60. ^ "Ypsilanti to recognize 'Indigenous Peoples Day' on Columbus Day". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  61. ^ "Durango recognizes Indigenous Peoples' Day over Columbus Day". Durango Herald. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  62. ^ Doty, Kelly A. "Asheville City Council Adopts Indigenous Peoples' Day". WLOS. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  63. ^ "Eugene says yes to Indigenous Peoples' Day |". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  64. ^ "Cambridge City Council meeting - June 6, 2016 - AGENDA". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  65. ^ "Several Massachusetts towns, cities honor indigenous peoples over Columbus". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  66. ^ "Boulder to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day on Columbus Day each year". Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  67. ^ "Proclamation of Recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-10-05. 
  68. ^ "Lawrence, Kansas Passes Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution". Native News Online. 2016-04-20. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  69. ^ "Goodbye Columbus Day?: Amherst Town Meeting OKs resolution to commemorate Indigenous Peoples' Day". 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2017-09-05. 
  70. ^ "Following Amherst, Northampton replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day". 2016-05-20. Retrieved 2017-09-05. 
  71. ^ "Bozeman adopts Columbus Day alternative, Indigenous Peoples Day". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2017-10-09. 
  72. ^ Jankowski, Philip. "Austin City Council renames Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day". The Austin-American Statesman. Retrieved 2017-10-05. 
  73. ^ Gagnon, Dawn; Staff, B.D.N. "Bangor to designate Indigenous Peoples' Day on Columbus Day". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  74. ^ Chris Chase (September 19, 2017). "Brunswick designates Indigenous Peoples' Day". The Coastal Journal. 
  75. ^ Anthony Clark Carpio (September 29, 2017). "With a narrow vote, Burbank officials replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day". The Burbank Leader. Retrieved October 4, 2017. 
  76. ^ "Davenport changes Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day". WQAD. 28 September 2017. 
  77. ^ "Town of Durham establishes Indigenous Peoples' Day". WMUR. 18 September 2017. 
  78. ^ "Mayor proclaims October 9 Indigenous People's Day". City of Iowa City. October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  79. ^ Mearhoff, Sarah (7 September 2017). "Common Council unanimously votes to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day in Ithaca". The Ithaca Journal. Retrieved 14 September 2017. 
  80. ^ Taysha Woods (October 5, 2017). "Johnson County and Iowa City declare Indigenous People's Day". KGAN. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  81. ^ "Indigenous Peoples Day Long Beach". Red Earth Defense. October 3, 2017. 
  82. ^ "LA Council Vote to Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day as a City Holiday". The San Fernando Valley Sun. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  83. ^ Pearl Obispo (October 3, 2017). "L.A. County Replaces Columbus with Indigenous Peoples Day". Retrieved October 4, 2017. 
  84. ^ "Council says no more Columbus Day". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Retrieved 2017-10-03. 
  85. ^ "Monday Will Also Be 'Indigenous Peoples Day'". 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2017-10-06. 
  86. ^ "Norman becomes second Oklahoma city to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day". 2017-08-23. Retrieved 2017-09-26. 
  87. ^ "City of Oberlin officially abolishes Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day". 2017-08-22. Retrieved 2017-09-03. 
  88. ^ Brian Sullivan (September 11, 2017). "Orono Council Votes to Rename Columbus Day Indigenous Peoples' Day". 
  89. ^ Randy Billings (September 18, 2017). "Portland designates 2nd Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day". Portland Press Herald. 
  90. ^ "Salt Lake City Council votes to have Indigenous Peoples' Day on Columbus Day". Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  91. ^ "Indigenous Peoples Day replaces Columbus Day in San Luis Obispo". sanluisobispo. Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  92. ^ Associated Press (October 9, 2017). "Kentucky city to celebrate its first Indigenous Peoples' Day". WKYT. 
  93. ^ Anna Codutti (September 23, 2017). "Tulsa City Council votes to recognize Native American Day on Columbus Day". Tulsa World. 
  94. ^ "Kudos to council for Indigenous Peoples Day move". January 27, 2016. 
  95. ^
  96. ^ Felipe Hernandez (2017-09-26). "Great evening at the City of Watsonville City Council meeting! Both Indigenous Peoples Day and City of Dreamers Resolution passed unanimously!!!". Retrieved 2017-09-26. 
  97. ^
  98. ^
  99. ^ Fischenich, Mark (June 11, 2018). "Columbus Day to be Indigenous Peoples Day in Mankato". The Free Press. Retrieved August 2, 2018. 
  100. ^ Sabatini, Joshua (January 23, 2018). "San Francisco says 'arrivederci' to Columbus Day". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved January 24, 2018. 
  101. ^ McWilliams, Kathleen (March 21, 2018). "West Hartford Changes Columbus Day To Indigenous Peoples Day". Hartford Courant. Retrieved March 22, 2018. 
  102. ^ [1]
  103. ^ [2]
  104. ^ Somerville will observe Indigenous Peoples' Day on Oct. 8

External links[edit]