Indigenous Peoples' Day Celebrated in NYC, Despite City's Commitment to Columbus Day


October 14, 2021

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day on New York City's Randalls Island. (Photo/Jenna Kunze for Native News Online)

RANDALLS ISLAND, New York-The word "recognize" doesn't exist in the Shinnecock Nation language, according to tribal member Chenae Bullock. She is one of the organizers of the seventh annual New York City Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration on Randalls Island, a small island located in the East River, between Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens.

"It is important to recognize, but for us, it's more so to acknowledge our existence," Bullock, donning her traditional regalia, told Native News Online over the sound of a drum performance. "Because not acknowledging our existence actually continues the perpetuation of genocide to our people who are still living."

New York City does not recognize Oct. 11 as Indigenous Peoples' Day, despite being home to the largest population of Native Americans in the country, according to 2020 census data. Instead, it pays tribute to the lost Italian who paved the way for European colonization, and thus Native American desecration. New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul yesterday signed the state of New York's first ever proclamation recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day, after first attending the city's 77th annual Columbus Day parade.


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