Today, October 11, 2021, we observe and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ day in the United States, honoring the valuable historical and contemporary contributions of the various indigenous people who have called this land home for thousands of years.
This year President Joe Biden became the first US President to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ day. The second Monday of October has traditionally been recognized as a date of remembrance in honor of and named after an Italian imperialist. At long last, the name of that name has been dropped in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ day.
The intent is to recognize not only the meaningful role of indigenous peoples on both our history and our present state, but also to bring attention to the plight that many indigenous people face today. Among the issues, indigenous people are disproportionately affected by climate change, violence, and health concerns.
As recognition of this day grows, I hope that more Americans will take the time to educate themselves about the beautiful traditions and history of our indigenous people and consider them as valuable members of society rather than as a nuisance that got in the way of America’s Manifest Destiny.
Recognition of this day will not cure centuries of persecution and discrimination but it is a small step in the right direction.