Indigenous Peoples’ Day (also known as Native American Day) is a holiday celebrated in various localities in the United States, begun as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day. The purpose of the day is to promote Native American culture and commemorate the history of Native American peoples. The celebration began in Berkeley, California, and Denver, Colorado, as an alternative to Columbus Day, which is listed as a federal holiday in the United States but is not observed as a state holiday in every state. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is usually held on the second Monday of October, coinciding with federal observance of Columbus Day.
The idea of replacing Columbus Day with a day celebrating the indigenous people of North America first arose in 1977 from the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1990, at the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, in July 1990, representatives of Indian groups throughout the Americas agreed that they would mark 1992, the 500th anniversary of the first of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, as a day to promote “continental unity” and “liberation”.
After the conference, attendees from Northern California organized to plan protests against the “Quincentennial Jubilee” that had been organized by the United States Congress for the San Francisco Bay Area on Columbus Day, 1992 to include, among other things, sailing replicas of Columbus’ ships under the Golden Gate Bridge and reenacting their “discovery” of America. The delegates formed the Bay Area Indian Alliance, and in turn, the “Resistance 500” task force, which advocated the notion that Columbus was responsible for genocide of Indian people.
In 1992 the group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12, a “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People”, and 1992 the “Year of Indigenous People”, and to implement related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” beginning in 1992 to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the demise of Native American people and culture through disease, warfare, massacre, and forced assimilation. Performances were scheduled that day for Get Lost (Again) Columbus, an opera by a Native-American composer. Berkeley has celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day ever since. Beginning in 1993, Berkeley has held an annual pow wow and festival on the day.
List of Prominent Native Americans of the United States
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- Trace Indian Ancestry
- Tribal Leaders Directory
- Native American Tribes A-Z
- List of Native American Tribe Websites A-Z
- National Museum of the American Indian
- US Department of the Interior: Indian Affairs
- Generation Indigenous | The White House
US Govt & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2016 – ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™