Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

COVID, Collective Resistance and Columbus: Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day 2020


October 12, 2020

Nikk "Red Weezil" Dakota (right) of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and members of other tribal nations mark the city of Seattle's designation of the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day, in this file photo from October 13, 2014. Photo Credit: David Ryder/Getty Images

Indigenous Peoples' Day-October 12-celebrates the history and vibrancy of contemporary Native cultures. In many places, it feels like a festival, with music, vendors and community. In my hometown of New York City (which is located on Lenape homelands), we typically celebrate on Randall's Island with drumming, dancing and stacks of puffy sugar-soaked frybread.

This event, like others across the nation, is a hard-won victory and the result of a longer battle to replace Columbus Day with observances that honor the many Indigenous cultures across the Americas. It gained traction in the late 1990s as coalitions of Indigenous leaders, activists and educators worked to re-educate Americans about the history of Christopher Columbus, the explorer many Americans think is responsible for "discovering" a hemisphere. Today, there's growing awareness that Columbus' expeditions involved the rape and enslavement of Native women and girls as well as the violent abuse of Taino and other Indigenous people in the Caribbean.


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