Indigenous Peoples' Day is Every Day
October 11, 2022
Monday marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day, thanks to the tireless work of Indigenous advocates and allies who have worked to secure its recognition by municipalities, states, and the nation (although still not a federal holiday, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a federally recognized holiday). Native Peoples were always here—at the time of contact—and now, thanks to the tenacity and resilience of our ancestors and the advocacy of our people today. When we celebrate Native heritage, cultures, traditions, and people today, we remember our ancestors’ many sacrifices and soberly reflect on the impact colonialism had on our people and our ways of living.
Of course, personally, as an Indigenous woman and President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, every day is Indigenous Peoples’ Day for me. I grew up steeped in the Sicangu Lakota culture and traditions on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. I raised my children in those traditions and they in turn are raising my grandchildren in our rich culture. My great-grandchildren are being raised in the culture. The circle continues. My family is a testament to our resilience as we honor and carry forward the ways of our ancestors.
Forty years ago, when I embarked upon my education career with the guidance of trusted Tribal elders and educators, it seemed almost fated that I would devote myself to lift others in Native communities as a teacher, tribal college president, and now as the president of the American Indian College Fund.