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Indigenous People's Day in the US

Updated on January 17, 2010
Indigenous People's Day
Indigenous People's Day
Not Everyone Views Columbus As A Hero
Not Everyone Views Columbus As A Hero

Christopher Columbus

October 12 is generally recognized as the day that Americans and those in the “new world” celebrate Christopher Columbus’s landing and discovery of the Americas.  For many, this day marks the beginning of the discovery era wherein Europeans began exploring these new found lands for riches and fame.  It also marked the beginning of settlements in the world that eventually led to the development of the United States and the other counties of North America.

However, for many, Christopher Columbus is not a hero.  Christopher Columbus is not a man who deserves to be honored yearly.  For many, Christopher Columbus represents the beginning of a dark era in history.  An era that included the enslaving and exploitation of millions of the indigenous people who had occupied the new world for centuries.  It marks the beginning of the end of the Indigenous people’s cultures and livelihood.  So instead of celebrating Christopher Columbus on Columbus Day, many choose to celebrate the Indigenous People of the World in an effort to give voice to the plights of these people’s.

Berkeley Officially Changed Columbus Day To Indigenous People's Day
Berkeley Officially Changed Columbus Day To Indigenous People's Day

Historical Origins of Indigenous People’s Day

The idea of replacing Columbus Day with a day celebrating Indigenous People was in 1977 in Geneva, Switzerland during a United Nations sponsored conference on discrimination against indigenous populations in the Americas.  Fourteen years after the idea was floated, the City of Berkeley, California formally adopted and declared that October 12 would be a day to stand in “Solidarity with Indigenous People.”  Berkeley’s formal declaration was in response to a movement growing in favor of recognizing indigenous peoples of the world.

Every Year Berkeley Hosts A Pow-Wow And Indian Market To Celebrate Native Culture
Every Year Berkeley Hosts A Pow-Wow And Indian Market To Celebrate Native Culture
The Purpose Of Indigenous People's Day Is To Celebrate The Past And Bring Light To The Problems Of Today
The Purpose Of Indigenous People's Day Is To Celebrate The Past And Bring Light To The Problems Of Today

The Movement Today

Since Berkeley’s Adoption of Indigenous People’s day a movement has formed to convince other cities and governments to also disregard Columbus Day in favor of the people who they claim Columbus abused. The purpose of this movement is to reveal historical truths about the exploitation of the indigenous people and to raise awareness to the problems indigenous people face today.

The City of Berkeley still holds one of the biggest Indigenous Day celebrations. On the Saturday closest to the traditional date of Columbus’ arrival in the new world, Berkeley hosts what is known as a Pow-Wow and Indian Market. The purpose is to celebrate the culture of indigenous peoples and to promote their continued survival. A Pow-Wow is simply an event where Native and Non-Native peoples meet to dance, sing and honor Native culture. The Pow-Wow in Berkeley every year draws numerous Native tribes from all across North America and is a great place to learn about Indian Culture first hand.



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    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I can understand where you are coming from.

      Thanks for reading

    • profile image

      Aishah Bowron 

      8 years ago

      Christopher Columbus is an evil, coldblooded monster. He is more butcher than explorer !. He is a man working for the Devil. He exploited, enslaved, killed and butchered millions of innocent Indians. For my birthday present next year, I would like an abolition of Columbus Day.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Maybe not apologize, but at least now throw it in their face I think is the idea. I don't care about either holiday, just giving a little background.

      Thanks for reading.

    • eovery profile image


      9 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      So are we to apologize for Columbus too? This is getting out of hand. And stupid.

      How about all the libs in Europe apologize for this, i.e. Columbus was Portuguese. He was funded by the Spanish. The English and the French did most of the "abuse" if that is what you call it. Why don't these countries apologize? I am tired of these idiots.

      Keep on Hubbing!


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