5 Ways To Celebrate Indigenous People’s Day 2017

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One by one, cities across the United States are beginning to publicly replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day, a celebratory day of recognition for the culture and history of Native people. Just this past year, Los Angeles County, Salt Lake City, and Austin all passed resolutions declaring Indigenous People’s Day is to be annually celebrated the second Monday of October. The push to create Indigenous People’s Day has intensified this year, especially with the call to remove statues of Christopher Columbus, but activists have been fighting to rename Columbus Day since the 1970s. This push should remind us to respect the rights and culture indigenous people every day, but the holiday serves as a special reminder to celebrate Native Americans.

There are myriad reasons to replace Columbus Day, but the most impactful is Columbus’ long history of colonization and violence towards indigenous people on the continents he claimed to have "discovered." Between Columbus’ arrival in 1492 and the Pilgrims’ arrival in 1620, 90 percent of Native American population died from European-born diseases. Columbus is not a romanticized myth, but a colonizer who uprooted and killed indigenous people — and most Native Americans still face discrimination and trauma to this day that is reminiscent of their ancestor’s. Renaming Columbus Day "Indigenous People’s Day" is just a small step in the long process of amends the United States owes Indigenous people. Here are five ways you can celebrate Indigenous people on Indigenous People’s Day.