Indigenous Peoples' Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors the Native Americans and commemorates their shared history and culture. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities. It began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Some people now reject celebrating him, saying that he represents "the violent history of the colonization in the Western Hemisphere".
Indigenous Peoples' Day was begun in 1989 in South Dakota, where Lynn Hart and Governor Mickelson backed a resolution to celebrate Native American day on the second Monday of October, marking the beginning of the year of reconciliation in 1990. It was instituted in Berkeley, California, in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Two years later, Santa Cruz, California, instituted the holiday, and in the 2010s, various other cities and states took it up.
It is similar to Native American Day, observed in September in California and Tennessee.
|Indigenous Peoples' Day|
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 on Columbus Day.|
|Significance||A day in honor of Native Indigenous Americans on Columbus Day.|
|First time||October 12, 1992|
|Related to||National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada|
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. 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 indigenous 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".
After the conference, attendees from Northern California organized 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's 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. It promoted the idea that Columbus's "discovery" of inhabited lands and subsequent European colonization of these areas had resulted in the genocide of indigenous peoples by decisions of colonial and national governments.
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 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 through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation. Get Lost (Again) Columbus, an opera by a Native American composer, White Cloud Wolfhawk, was produced that day. Berkeley has celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day ever since. Beginning in 1993, Berkeley has also held an annual pow wow and festival on Indigenous Peoples' Day.
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. Several other California cities, including Richmond, Santa Cruz, and Sebastopol, now celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day and encourage people to donate to a neighboring tribe and recognize the trauma and pain indigenous peoples have been subjected to by colonizers.
At least three states do not celebrate Columbus Day (Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota); South Dakota officially celebrates Native American Day instead. Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day as "Native American Day", or have renamed the day after their own tribes. In 2013, the California state legislature considered a bill, AB55, to formally replace Columbus Day with Native American Day but did not pass it. On August 30, 2017, following similar affirmative votes in Oberlin, Ohio, followed later by Bangor, Maine in the earlier weeks of the same month, the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
Children in schools have been taught about Christopher Columbus as a hero, but in the book Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, some say that children should be taught about the truth of what Christopher Columbus started and what affect his actions had upon the native people of the Americas.
Numerous efforts in the Americas have honored Native Americans as part of Columbus Day, or by designating two holidays for the same date. Especially since Native American activism has increased since the 1960s and 1970s, a variety of protests have been staged against celebrating Columbus Day. These have included mock trials of Christopher Columbus in St. Paul, Minnesota, and protests and disruptions of Columbus Day parades in the United States.
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. In the Philippines, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, as well as various local indigenous towns, designated October 29, 2008, as Indigenous Peoples' Day.
In 1994, the United Nations declared an International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, establishing it on August 9. This international holiday has been celebrated also in various nations.
The following locations celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day, with the exceptions of Lewiston, New York, Tompkins County, New York, West Hartford, Connecticut, and Lawton, Oklahoma, which celebrate both.
In a unanimous vote Monday night, Oberlin City Council voted to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day.
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.
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.
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The 3D Toronto sign, officially the 3D TORONTO sign and commonly known as the Toronto sign, is an illuminated three-dimensional sign in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that spells the city's name. It is 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall, and 22 metres (72 ft) long (prior to the addition of the maple leaf and the medicine wheel), lit by LED lights controlled via Wi-Fi, that can create an estimated 228 million colour combinations, approximately equal to what the human eye can sense.Originally installed for the 2015 Pan American Games as a temporary attraction meant to be dismantled in November 2016 at the earliest, the City of Toronto government decided to continue to operate the sign after it became popular with tourists and residents. Explaining the city's decision to keep it, Toronto City Councillor Norm Kelly said the sign is as iconic as the CN Tower and that it has become known all over the world. It has appeared in an estimated 120 million pictures in various social media outlets in June 2016.Having an estimated three- to five-year lifespan, the sign began to show signs of wear and tear by June 2016. City Council rejected spending another CA$150,000 on the sign, and city staff propose replacing the sign with a permanent version. The sign was vandalized in October 2016 during the overnight Nuit Blanche event. Graffiti was applied using markers, but Nuit Blanche employees were able to remove the graffiti.A 3D maple leaf was added to the Toronto sign adjacent to the final "O" in December 2016 to mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.
However, the sign experienced more wear in early 2017, thanks to uneven erosion at the bases of each of the three Os from hundreds of thousands of posing feet from passersby, primarily to take selfies and other photos, exposing the black rubber padding underneath.The sign was modified again on June 21, 2018 to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day. The change added a 3D medicine wheel adjacent to the first "T" and new vinyl wraps for each letter consisting of a birch bark pattern with various First Nations symbols on them. These changes would be temporary.CFNR-FM
CFNR-FM is a Canadian radio station based in Terrace, British Columbia, owned and operated by Northern Native Broadcasting (Terrace). The station operates at 92.1 FM from the station headquarters in Terrace. The programming reflects and is broadcast to over 70 First Nations communities in northern and central British Columbia and has an audience of over 150,000 listeners. Programming of CFNR-FM is distributed to numerous repeater stations in the region.
The station describes its music programming as classic rock format. Programming includes cultural events such as the Hobiyee celebrations in Vancouver and Nisga'a territory, National Indigenous Peoples Day, and cultural sports broadcasts such as the annual All-Native Tournament and the Junior all Native Basketball Tournaments.Chief Wahoo
Chief Wahoo was the logo of the Cleveland Indians, a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Cleveland, Ohio. As part of the larger Native American mascot controversy, it drew criticism from Native Americans, social scientists, and religious and educational groups, but remains popular among many fans of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. On January 29, 2018, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Indians' owner Paul Dolan announced that Chief Wahoo would no longer appear on uniforms or stadium signs following the end of the 2018 season. Merchandise featuring the logo will still be available at the Indians' ballpark and retail stores in Ohio, but will no longer be sold on the league's website. The team's primary logo is now a block "C".
The Chief Wahoo logo was last worn by the Indians in an 11–3 loss to the Houston Astros on October 8, 2018 in the 2018 American League Division Series. News outlets noted the irony of the logo's final appearance being on Indigenous Peoples' Day/Columbus Day.Columbus Day
Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492 (Julian Calendar; it would have been October 21, 1492 on the Gregorian Proleptic Calendar, which extends the Gregorian Calendar to dates prior to its adoption in 1582). Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a faster route to the The Far East only to land at the New World. His first voyage to the New World on the Spanish ships Santa María, Niña, and La Pinta took approximately three months. Columbus and his crew's arrival to the New World initiated the Columbian Exchange which introduced the transfer of plants, animals, culture, human populations, and technology between the new world and the old.
The landing is celebrated as "Columbus Day" in the United States but the name varies on the international spectrum. In some Latin American countries, October 12 is known as "Día de la Raza" or (Day of the Race). This is the case of Mexico which inspired in Jose Vasoncelos's book celebrates the Day of the Iberoamerican Race. Some countries such as Spain refer the holiday as "Día de la Hispanidad" and "Fiesta Nacional de España" where it is also the religious festivity of la Virgen del Pilar. Peru celebrates since 2009 the "Day of the original peoples and intercultural dialogue". Belize and Uruguay celebrate it as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas). Since Argentina's former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner officially adopted "Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural" (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) November 3, 2010. "Giornata Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo" is the formal name of Italy's celebration as well as in Little Italys around the world.Durham, New Hampshire
Durham is a town in Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 14,638 at the 2010 census. Durham is home to the University of New Hampshire.
The primary settlement in the town, where 10,345 people resided at the 2010 census, is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as the Durham census-designated place (CDP) and includes the densely populated portion of the town centered on the intersection of New Hampshire Route 108 and Main Street, which includes the university that dominates the town.Eagle feather law
The eagle feather law provides many exceptions to federal wildlife laws regarding eagles and other migratory birds to enable Native Americans to continue their traditional spiritual and cultural practices.
Under the current language of the eagle feather law, individuals of certifiable American Indian ancestry enrolled in a federally recognized tribe are legally authorized to obtain eagle feathers. Unauthorized persons found with an eagle or its parts in their possession can be fined up to $250,000.Georgina Jolibois
Georgina Jolibois (born 1968) is a Canadian politician who was elected to represent the riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River in the House of Commons of Canada in the Canadian federal election, 2015.Prior to her election Jolibois served for twelve years as mayor of La Loche. She also served nine years on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police "F" Division’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee, working with law enforcement and other community partners to build safer communities in the North.
Jolibois sponsored the private member bill C-369 which sought to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a legal holiday.Indigenous peoples in Canada
Indigenous peoples in Canada, also known as Aboriginal Canadians (French: Canadiens Autochtones), are the indigenous peoples within the boundaries of Canada. They comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Although "Indian" is a term still commonly used in legal documents, the descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have somewhat fallen into disuse in Canada and some consider them to be pejorative. Similarly, "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act, 1982, though in some circles that word is also falling into disfavour.Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are some of the earliest known sites of human habitation in Canada. The Paleo-Indian Clovis, Plano and Pre-Dorset cultures pre-date current indigenous peoples of the Americas. Projectile point tools, spears, pottery, bangles, chisels and scrapers mark archaeological sites, thus distinguishing cultural periods, traditions and lithic reduction styles.
The characteristics of Canadian Aboriginal culture included permanent settlements, agriculture, civic and ceremonial architecture, complex societal hierarchies and trading networks. The Métis culture of mixed blood originated in the mid-17th century when First Nation and Inuit people married Europeans. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during that early period. Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European immigrants and First Nations across Canada. Aboriginal Right to Self-Government provides opportunity to manage historical, cultural, political, health care and economic control aspects within first people's communities.
As of the 2016 census, Aboriginal peoples in Canada totalled 1,673,785 people, or 4.9% of the national population, with 977,230 First Nations people, 587,545 Métis and 65,025 Inuit. 7.7% of the population under the age of 14 are of Aboriginal descent. There are over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands with distinctive cultures, languages, art, and music. National Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes the cultures and contributions of Aboriginal peoples to the history of Canada. First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of all backgrounds have become prominent figures and have served as role models in the Aboriginal community and help to shape the Canadian cultural identity.International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed on 9 August each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. It was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, in 1982.June Sapiel
June Sapiel is a Penobscot Nation member and activist from Maine. Sapiel was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation, also known as "Indian Island" and was the niece of John "Sam" Sapiel who was a well-known Indigenous activist before his passing in 2017.Sapiel focuses most of her activism work on Indigenous rights, land and water rights and women's rights. June Sapiel has been a speaker at the 2018 National Day of Mourning (United States protest), the 2017 Augusta 2017 Women's March at the Maine State House, and other various events. Sapiel was a member of and speaker for the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. She also protests to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day.National Freedom Day
National Freedom Day is a United States observance on February 1 honoring the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865, although it was not ratified by the states until later.National Indigenous Peoples Day
National Indigenous Peoples Day (French: Journée nationale des peuples autochtones) is a day recognising and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada. The day was first celebrated as National Aboriginal Day in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc, to be celebrated annually on June 21. This date was chosen as the statutory holiday for many reasons, including its cultural significance as the Summer solstice, and the fact that it is a day on which many Indigenous peoples and communities traditionally celebrate their heritage. It was renamed from National Aboriginal Day in 2017.Native American Day
Native American Day is a holiday in the U.S. states of California and Nevada celebrated annually on the fourth Friday of September, as well as in South Dakota on the second Monday in October in lieu of Columbus Day. It honors Native American cultures and contributions to their respective states and the United States. The state of Tennessee observes a similar American Indian Day each year on the fourth Monday of September.Oyster River Cooperative School District
Oyster River Cooperative School District (ORCSD) is a public school district in Durham, New Hampshire, United States, serving the towns of Durham, Lee, and Madbury, Durham is home to the main campus of the University of New Hampshire. One of the first cooperative school districts established in the state of New Hampshire in 1954, ORCSD has a history of progressive educational philosophy, including heterogenous grouping and differentiated instruction. This tradition was recently affirmed by a strategic planning process which culminated in the district philosophy and vision statement. Serving around 2,000 students, the district consists of 2 elementary schools (one each in Lee and Madbury), a middle school, and a high school. It has its own school administrative unit (SAU 5), with its own superintendent.Pan American Aviation Day
Pan American Aviation Day is a United States Federal Observance Day observed December 17. According to 36 U.S.C. § 134, on Pan American Aviation Day the president calls on "all officials of the United States Government, the chief executive offices of the States, territories, and possessions of the United States, and all citizens to participate in the observance of Pan American Aviation Day to further, and stimulate interest in, aviation in the American countries as an important stimulus to the further development of more rapid communications and a cultural development between the countries of the Western Hemisphere."The date commemorates the first successful flight of a mechanically propelled heavier-than-air craft, accomplished on December 17, 1903, by the Wright brothers near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.Redbone (band)
Redbone is an American rock group originating in the 1970s with brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas. They reached the Top 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974 with their No. 5 hit single, "Come and Get Your Love". The single went certified Gold selling over a million copies. Redbone achieved hits with their singles "We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee", "The Witch Queen of New Orleans", "Wovoka", and "Maggie" in the United States, although these singles were more successful overseas. Redbone is known as the first Native American rock/Cajun group to have a No. 1 single internationally.Saw O Moo
Saw O Moo (1975 - 5 April 2018) was a Karen people activist in the Mutraw District of Myanmar who worked as an indigenous wildlife researcher, took on the role of a Luthaw Paw Day community forest coordinator, and actively advocated for Karen people land rights by campaigning for a number of years to establish a Karen people managed and Karen people governed 5,400 km2 Indigenous and Community Conservation Area in the Salween River basin.Saw O Moo was born in 1975 at Ler Mu Plaw, Myanmar, where he married Naw Paw Tha, had 7 children, and since 2006 has partnered with the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network to establish a Karen people managed and governed Salween Peace Park including remnant old growth forests, plus habitats of Asiatic black bear and Sunda pangolins threatened by mercury pollution from goldmines and the Hat Gyi hydroelectric projectIn August 2017 he assisted launch a documentary at Yangoon for World Indigenous Peoples Day. In October 2017 he travelled with 12 other Karen leaders to the Philippines to learn about Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs), and by December 2017 he was publicly promoting the proposed Salween Peace Park quoted as saying "For us as Indigenous people, the Salween Peace Park represents our deepest desires and needs,"Saw O Moon died at Wah Klo Hat, Myamar where he was reported as having been shot by Myanmar military presuming him to be a plain clothes soldier with the Karen National Liberation ArmyTimeline of support for Indigenous Peoples' Day
This page is a timeline for when various municipalities, universities, and states in the United States have officially recognized Indigenous Peoples' Day.Wright Brothers Day
Wright Brothers Day (December 17) is a United States national observation. It is codified in the US Code, and commemorates the first successful flights in a heavier-than-air, mechanically propelled airplane, that were made by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On September 24, 1959 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared December 17 to be Wright Brothers Day.Wright Brothers Day was announced as an official commemorative day in Ohio, on October 5, 2011, celebrating 100 years of practical flight for the Wright Brothers.
American Heart Month
Black History Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
National Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Women's History Month
Confederate History Month
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Pride Month
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Hispanic Heritage Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Disability Employment Awareness Month
Filipino American History Month
LGBT History Month
Native American Indian Heritage Month
|Varies (year round)|
(federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies