Indigenous Peoples' Day: How to Celebrate
What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
In the United States, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Though it was only formally recognized as a federal holiday beginning in 2021, it dates back to the 1990s and began to gain momentum in 2014.
Since then, cities and countries around the world have observed Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a way to take back the narrative that Christopher Columbus “discovered” the Americas and honor the cultural heritage of the Native American communities that lived here first.
For many people, this holiday is a day of reflection, remembrance, and education.
5 Ways to Honor and Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day
1. Learn about the land you live on.
Take some time to learn and reflect on the history of the Native Americans in your area. Check out your local library, or do your own research online. You can use this virtual map to find out which Native communities called the land home.
Learning about the past helps us to build a better future!
2. Read an Indigenous author.
Reading a book is like seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. Sometimes, it’s the closest thing we can get to truly understanding a different perspective or culture.
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day by reading a book by an indigenous author gives us a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage of the Native American communities. Through the pages, we all smile, laugh, and grieve together, and walk away with a better understanding of each other and how our history overlaps.
3. Support an indigenous artist.
On Etsy, there are hundreds of beautiful handmade goods by Native American artisans. Aki Trading Post makes handcrafted dream catchers, jewelry, and more to honor the traditional indigenous art and culture.
Or support a Native American artist in your community!
4. Tour a Native American museum or history center.
We can celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day by reflecting on the ways that the Native communities respected and utilized the resources of the land in every aspect of life. Seeing the artifacts in person at a museum tells the rich history of the indigenous people of the area.
Many cities have a Native American museum. If your city doesn’t, try checking out your state history museum.
5. Learn about indigenous languages.
It’s estimated that there are 7,000 indigenous languages spoken worldwide. Some are considered endangered, meaning that the number of fluent speakers is dwindling. Preserving these languages is a vital piece of preserving the cultural heritage as a whole.
Learning about some of these languages is another way we can celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Google Earth has a really cool segment on celebrating indigenous languages that you can find here. It allows us to listen to greetings in 50 indigenous languages and learn about the speaker and where they live.
In addition to this list, we can also celebrate by listening to indigenous music, learning about cultural traditions, and trying indigenous foods. How do you plan to celebrate this year?