Since 1992, Indigenous Peoples’ Day has been celebrated in stark opposition to the United States federal holiday, Christopher Columbus Day, lambasting the Italian explorer’s so-called discovery of the Americas. President Joe Biden is the first U.S. president to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and many on Twitter are joined in a virtual celebration.
According to the Wikipedia entry on the holiday, the holiday was first adopted in 1989 in South Dakota as Native American Day. Since the term “Native American” doesn’t encompass all indigenous peoples, Berkeley, Calif. adopted the day as it is known today in 1992 with Santa Cruz, Calif. adopting it two years later. Some two decades later, three other cities, Grand Rapids, Mich., Minneapolis, Minn., and Seattle, Wash. all adopted the day along with Minnesota State University at Mankato.
In 2015, 18 cities, two counties in Minnesota, and the state of Alaska adopted the day. The following year, 24 more cities joined in, along with five other universities and the entire state of Minnesota along with Vermont.
On October 8 of this year, President Biden signed a presidential proclamation declaring that Indigenous Peoples’ Day will. now be recognized as a federal holiday.
From the proclamation:
The Federal Government has a solemn obligation to lift up and invest in the future of Indigenous people and empower Tribal Nations to govern their own communities and make their own decisions. We must never forget the centuries-long campaign of violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror wrought upon Native communities and Tribal Nations throughout our country. Today, we acknowledge the significant sacrifices made by Native peoples to this country — and recognize their many ongoing contributions to our Nation.
On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor America’s first inhabitants and the Tribal Nations that continue to thrive today. I encourage everyone to celebrate and recognize the many Indigenous communities and cultures that make up our great country.
Across Twitter, the hashtag #IndigenousPeoplesDay has been ringing off with folks praising the holiday with others taking turns dunking on Columbus as expected.