Home » What is Indigenous Peoples' Day? Does it replace Columbus Day? Everything you need to know

What is Indigenous Peoples' Day? Does it replace Columbus Day? Everything you need to know

by Lester Blair
Drummers sing as they lead a march during an Indigenous Peoples Day event Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Seattle.
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What started in 1977 as a day of respect at a discrimination conference has now become a national holiday honored by President Joe Biden. 

Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which honors Native American history and culture, falls on the calendar the same day Columbus Day, first recognized as a national holiday in 1934 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

Columbus Day has prompted political debate in states, cities and municipalities around the U.S., especially in the last decade, with many favoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead. 

“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” Biden wrote in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamation. “…we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”

What’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures.

An international conference sponsored by the United Nations on discrimination in 1977 was where Indigenous Peoples Day began to be celebrated. South Dakota was the first state to recognize the day in 1989, and the cities of Berkeley and Santa Cruz, California, followed. 

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Vice President BidenFirst president marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day with presidential proclamation

In 1990, the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations, began to discuss replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The Native American Day is observed in the States of California and Tennessee, but not with Columbus Day.

Biden commemorated Indigenous Peoples’ Day. How does this translate?

On Friday, Biden issued the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

President’s Proclamation is the greatest boost to efforts to redirect federal holidays celebrating Christopher Columbus towards an appreciation for native peoples.

Biden issued also a proclamation for Columbus Day, Monday Oct. 11. This day is set by Congress.

“Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities,” Biden wrote. “It is a measure of our greatness as a Nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past — that we face them honestly, we bring them to the light, and we do all we can to address them.”

How many cities or states recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Over a dozen states and more than 130 local governments have chosen to not celebrate Columbus Day altogether or replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Many states have both. One-hundred and one-half of the US celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day or an equivalent holiday by proclamation. Ten states, however, treat it as a federal holiday. Arizona, California and Iowa are the 11 states which observe this holiday by proclamation. 

The 10 states that celebrate this holiday are: Alabama, Alaska Hawaii, Maine and Nebraska. 

Oklahoma tribal communities celebrate Native American Day instead of Columbus Day. Some groups name the day after their tribes.

There are more than 100 cities in the US that have replaced Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day. 

Are you wondering what happened to Columbus Day It is controversial.

Though some groups argue that Columbus Day, which is still a federal holiday, celebrates Italian American heritage, many say the holiday glorifies an exploration that led to the genocide of native peoples and paved the way for slavery.

Columbus may be credited with the discovery of the New World. But millions of people had already lived there. Columbus made four expeditions to the Caribbean and South America over two decades, enslaving and decimating populations and opening the floodgates of European colonization.

Many groups have called for the removal of monuments to Columbus, as well as to Confederate generals. 

Columbus Day celebrations go back to 1792, when New York City commemorated the 300th anniversary Columbus arrived on Earth. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday in 1934 – one of 10 official federal holidays.

Is it possible for businesses to close on Mondays

Monday is a national holiday in which most post offices and banks are closed. 

Closed are also any government agencies and institutions, including libraries, federal offices, DMVs, DMVs, or DMVs.

While locally owned businesses are up to the owner, supermarkets and most drug stores are open. The same applies to staples Target and Walmart as well as Stabucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Stabucks. 

You can also visit national parks. 

Grace Hauck (Associated Press, Times Record News) 

Source: USAToday.com

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