October 11: US Indigenous People’s Day

American President, Joe Biden, has proclaimed October 11 as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”. He has become the first U.S. president to formally recognize this day.

Highlights

  • The day was proclaimed after recognising the Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength along with the immeasurable positive impact that these people have made on every aspect of American society.
  • For past several years, states like Alaska and New Mexico have adopted the holiday and choose to give-up the Columbus Day celebrations. They also paid attention to the calls from Indigenous groups and other residents for not celebrating Christopher Columbus, who was an Italian navigator. On his name, holiday is named so.
  • However, many people across the country still celebrate Columbus Day or Italian Heritage Day as a pride in Italian culture.

What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is typically observed on the second Monday of October. This Day recognizes the Indigenous communities who have lived in United States for thousands of years. It grew increasingly common as the replacement for Columbus Day. Columbus Day celebrates the explorer who sailed from Spain with a crew in three ships namely, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, in the year 1492.

Background

Many of U.S. cities and states commemorated the day, before American president proclaimed it. Colleges and corporations have also recognized the day. First state to officially recognise this day was “South Dakota”, that officially recognized the day as Native Americans’ Day in the year 1990. Countries like Oregon, Alaska and Vermont also officially established this day as a holiday. Cities like Berkeley, Seattle, California and Minneapolis were among early adopters.

Indigenous People’s Day in other countries

This day is observed under different names across the world. Canada recognized this day on June 21, 1996 as “National Indigenous Peoples’ Day”.

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