Why Some Cities Are Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day Instead Of Columbus Day

"Remember that we are resilient,courageous & beautiful."

Across social media, Americans are celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day to pay tribute to the history, heritage, and contributions of Native Americans. 


In some ways, Indigenous Peoples' Day is meant to be an alternative to Columbus Day, which is recognized as a national holiday in the United States. Many Americans commemorating Indigenous Peoples' Day wrote social media posts espousing pride in their Native American heritage and criticizing the United States' long history of oppressing Native American groups. The Indigenous Environmental Network posted a photo series, embedded below, honoring outstanding educators, entrepreneurs and activists.

55 cities from every corner of the United States have now begun celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day in various ways. Some, like Seattle, Minneapolis, Austin and Los Angeles, have had city council votes to officially change the holiday from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day. 

The first Indigenous Peoples' Day was celebrated in 1991, but the idea came to light at a conference in Geneva almost 15 years prior. TIME reported that in 1977, at the first International NGO Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, attendees wrote up a list of recommendations that included a suggestion "to observe October 12, the day of so-called 'discovery' of America, as an International Day of Solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas."

Other Twitter users have suggested that the appropriate way to commemorate Indigenous Peoples' Day is to support efforts that elevate Native Americans.

Activist Brittany Packnett‏ suggested three specific courses of action: reading Native American histories as written by Native Americans, participating in advocacy for Native American causes, and supporting Native American-created products and services.


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