For our Future: An Advocates Guide to Supporting Indigenous Peoples' Day

IllumiNative is a national, Native-led nonprofit committed to amplifying contemporary Native voices, stories and issues to advance justice, equity and social impact, has just released a powerful new toolkit For our Future: An Advocates Guide to Supporting Indigenous Peoples' Day

The toolkit draws on interviews and experiences of Native organizers and communities whom have successfully passed Indigenous Peoples’ Day resolutions and provides a ‘how to guide’ on how to pass similar resolutions in your city, town, county, Tribe, State.

According to IllumiNative, The experience of Indigenous peoples with colonization in what is now the United States, is not a unique part of global history. Colonization has had, and continues to have, a widespread and devastating impact on Indigenous communities around the world and endures as a tool of oppressors. Native communities today are fighting to protect our way of life, and our land and water, across the United States, in Central and South America, and beyond.

IllumiNative focuses on the experiences of Native peoples here in the United States. This toolkit draws on the lessons and research we have about our experiences and what we have learned from Native advocates who have, and continue to be, on the frontlines fighting for change. In this toolkit, you will find case studies, key questions and answers, messages, a comprehensive how-to-guides on advocating to your representative and building a coalition, and more. While this toolkit is not exhaustive, it can serve as a foundation to support advocates and allies in their work.

We hope that our work can support Indigenous peoples around the world as they combat invisibility. We stand in solidarity with them.

Seattle Indigenous Peoples’ Day march

Seattle Indigenous Peoples’ Day march

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October in the United States, in lieu of Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day, at its core, aims to celebrate and honor the past, present, and futures of Native peoples throughout the United States and acknowledges the legacy of colonialism, which has devastated Indigenous communities historically and continues to negatively impact them today. More importantly, however, Indigenous Peoples’ Day moves beyond the narrative of oppression and honors the histories, cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples.

In 1977, the idea to observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a replacement for Columbus Day was first introduced at the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas. However, it took over 10 years for a city or state in the United States to officially enact such a change. In 1990, South Dakota became the first state to eliminate Columbus Day and, in its place, officially celebrate Native American Day. Around the same time, in 1992, Berkeley, California became the first city to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Although the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is gaining support, the number of states, counties, cities, and universities officially recognizing the holiday is still quite small. While within the past year, the states of Louisiana and New Mexico officially adopted the holiday, the total number of states recognizing the holiday is only at 9. As of 2019, approximately 5 counties (of 3,142), 121 cities (of the nearly 20,000), 8 universities, and 2 school districts officially celebrate the holiday in lieu of Columbus Day. While more cities and states are working on recognition recognizing the holiday, we still have a long way to go.

Read full tool kit here

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