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Indigenous People Prepare to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day Nationwide

Native American Leaders and Indigenous Peoples Worldwide Call for the Recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day

Sept. 30, 2021 — The second Monday of October will be celebrated by Indigenous Peoples all throughout Turtle Island (North America) through ceremonies, rallies, marches, honorings, and festivals. Many will be in cities and states that have taken the steps to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day (IPD), while others are still fighting for the recognition of the occasion.

Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, New Mexico, Maine, South Dakota, and Arizona have already officially redesignated the second Monday of October — the federal Columbus Day holiday — as Indigenous Peoples Day, joining an increasing number of cities. Many other states and cities have yet to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. For instance, New York City, the most populous city in the United States at more than twice the size of Los Angeles, has yet to make the change.

Indigenous leaders plan to host a variety of events around the nation for IPD, including an Oct.9 concert in Washington, D.C., a two-day event in New York City from Oct.10th-11, Oct 11 events in Philadelphia, Newton, Mass., and Arizona, and a Chicago event on Oct. 13.

Indigenous Peoples Day New York City organizer Chenae Bullock said she has written to all 51 New York City Council members over the past four years in an effort to get New York City to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. “As a descendant of the first international leaders who were the original inhabitants of the New York shores and as a community leader, I have requested that the New York City Council officially recognize Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October from this year and onward,” she said.

Even as Indigenous organizers across the nation call for a reckoning with the bloody history of colonialism, that history continues to be celebrated anew. On Aug. 24, with no consultation of the Narragansett Tribal Leadership and no due public process of Pawtucket’s residents, a statue of William Blackstone was erected in Pawtucket, R.I.

Blackstone’s leadership in 17th century Pawtucket led to the land stealing and slaughter of local Indigenous peoples. Narragansett activist Bella Noka said, “On Indigenous Peoples Day, we gather in protest to remove a recently-erected statue that continues to spread the message of the Doctrine of Discovery, a papal missive responsible for the slaughter of our Indigenous People.”

Noka and other local Indigenous Peoples in Rhode Island will gather on the corner of Roosevelt & Exchange in Pawtucket on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Indigenous Peoples’ fight for recognition and respect has been a centuries-long process that raises the need to acknowledge the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples. Tribes, intertribal organizations, and allies constantly work together to bring awareness to the ongoing issues affecting Native Peoples throughout Turtle Island — such as land reclamation, land acknowledgement, rebuilding of Native nations, and the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples.

The Lakota People's Law Project operates under the 501(c)(3) Romero Institute, a nonprofit law and policy center.


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