The Washington D.C. Council was one of the first major cities (in addition to a handful of U.S. states) to vote to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Several other places across the United States have also made the switch in a growing movement to end the celebration of the Italian explorer in favor of honoring Indigenous communities and their resiliency in the face of colonization. This has sparked an important conversation within North and South American societies in regard to how it perceives its shared, but conflicted history.
At least 10 states now celebrate some version of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October, like Hawaii’s Discoverers’ Day or South Dakota’s Native Americans’ Day. Many college campuses have dumped Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day as have more than 100 cities, towns and counties across the country.
For the Indigenous People of the Americas, Columbus Day has long been controversial. It evokes the torrid history of over 500 years of colonial oppression by European explorers and those who would settle in the Western Hemisphere— of which these ramifications still run deep in the present day.
One organization that seeks to provide resources for indigenous people often left behind in various Western countries, including the United States and various Latin American nations, is the World environmental education Congress. Visit their site below and check out their new call for environmental and development challenges facing indigenous people today.