Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day
Posted on October 11 2020
Indigenous Peoples Day has been gaining widespread adoption over the last few years to replace Columbus Day. Many American cities with large native populations have already instituted Indigenous Peoples Day to be observed on the second Monday of October (a day previously reserved for Columbus Day) and many cities and states across the country are beginning to follow suit. Activists have also fought to have monuments and statues celebrating Christopher Columbus removed or replaced.
2020 has brought about a year of facing difficult truths about this country, its history and what it means to be an American. Much of that reckoning has been about the white supremacy that exists structurally at our highest forms of government and trickles all the way down to the way we as citizens treat one another. This year seems as poignant as any to continue to shift away from glorifying icons of western colonialism and move toward honoring the people who were here long before us.
With Covid-19 rendering many large social gatherings (like vigils, marches and rallies) risky, here are some ways you can safely celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day today (and every day!)
Native-land.ca is a map of Indigenous tribes and territories all over the world. Check out which Indigenous people live or have lived where you are now. Learn about their culture, history and see if there are any online or socially-distanced events that you can attend.
Beyond educating yourself, financial support is a great way to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. Show your solidarity by donating to these organizations fighting for Indigenous rights as well as relief efforts during the pandemic and recent wildfires which have disproportionately impacted Native American communities.
The Oregon Community Foundation has also compiled a list of wildfire relief funds, with a focus on providing aid to local Indigenous tribes.
Support Indigenous Artists
Art is the way a culture tells its own story and lives on for generations. Whether you buy a piece of Indigenous art to display in your home or you donate to an artists’ relief fund like the Redhawk Native American Arts Council’s Artist Relief Fund, you’ll be helping to support an Indigenous artist to tell their story through their art. Etsy is a handy starting point if you’re looking to buy online. But consider researching local art collectives in your area and see if they have more ways to purchase or support Indigenous artists.
The work involved in learning about and honoring Indigenous people shouldn’t just last for today. All of the things listed above are actions you can take regularly to stand in solidarity with the Indigenous community.
by Kiah Nagasaka for Lille Boutique