Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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The True Heroes of the Arrival Are Those That Survived and Seek to Thrive, Even Today!

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

In solidarity, take the action — tell Congress to make it a legal public holiday, to substitute for Columbus Day. Tell congress to make Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a national commitment. Let’s honor the resilience of native peoples.

The second Monday of October was Columbus Day for most people in the United States, but for many, it should be more accurately termed Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We didn’t email out of respect for those who hold it as a more somber contemplative occasion.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors the past, present, and future of Native peoples throughout the US. It’s aimed at changing the narrative around the arrival of Columbus to reflect a more accurate history. The holiday celebrates the cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native Peoples. It recognizes the legacy and impact of colonialism on Native communities.

Tell Congress to Pass S.B.2919 and H.B.5473

The seed for Indigenous Peoples’ Day was planted at a U.N. international conference on discrimination in 1977. The first state to recognize the day was South Dakota in 1989. Then the cities of Berkeley and Santa Cruz, California, followed suit. Today 14 states and more than 130 cities celebrate the day instead of Columbus Day.

On October 8th, 2021, President Joe Biden recognized Indigenous People’s Day by issuing a proclamation:

“On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, our Nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor America’s first inhabitants and the Tribal Nations that continue to thrive today.”

But there has been little federal action since to spread that recognition. We, therefore, invite you to voice principled concern and pressure for recognition and proper historical context, as exemplified in Senate Bill 2919 and House Bill 5473, making it a legal public holiday substituting for Columbus Day.

Tell Congress to Pass S.B.2919 and H.B.5473

Why UUSJ Cares

This feels especially meaningful, important, and accountable for UUSJ as our work with the People vs. Fossil Fuels coalition has put us in closer collaborative proximity to Indigenous people leading both advocacy and witness.

In that work, we’ve heard Native American activists convey that they deal with systemic racism and they still struggle with the repercussions of colonization. To this day, many Indigenous people feel disrespected by American industry that pollutes Native lands and rivers and defiles Native properties and sacred places. This causes suffering and consequences for the physical and spiritual health of Indigenous people (The Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota and the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia are clear examples.)

We recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day is about more than a name change. It’s a refusal to allow the genocide of millions of Indigenous people to go unnoticed and a demand for recognition of Indigenous humanity. The violence of the arrival and colonization shouldn’t be romanticized in history with Columbus Day as the means.

By changing the naming of the holiday, we can acknowledge the reality of our nation’s history and honor the long-standing contributions and identities of Indigenous people. We can be in solidarity for Indigenous representation, equality, and justice. In so doing, we open space for the prospect of social progress, amending how American society views our country’s first peoples, this continent’s first residents, affording all the dignity and respect that we envision as a Beloved Community.