Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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What is Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day should be a celebration and honoring of the original stewards and caretakers of the lands, waterways, and oceans that we live, breath, and swim upon.

It is a simple acknowledgment of the challenges faced by our ancestors, and the blood they shed to lead the way for the surviving generations. The future seeds of children to carry on the legacies of honor, integrity, respect for all living beings, and things seen and unseen.

It is a basic call to respect life. Water is the life, the life blood of the planet. To respect this planet, papahānaumoku, for she is our teacher. Wākea, the sky, is our guide. To respect all living things, they teach us to observe and to listen. To listen and to observe. 

These are the tools of how to survive and thrive with grace and honor in our hearts for all that we are here in service for the greater good of humanity. I invite you to learn more about Indigenous Peoples’ Day and to support your local tribes and events today that honor the original peoples of all lands here on Turtle Island and around the world. 

Introduction / What is Indigenous Peoples Day

  • “IPD” or Indigenous Peoples’ Day is the Second Monday of Every October.
  • Like most state and federal holidays IPD establishes and formalizes awareness and action around a cause, purpose, or person or people.
  • In this light, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is meant to honor past and living Indigenous people, leaders, and nations as the original stewards of the lands, waterways, and oceans that each of us now stands, we call it “Turtle Island” or what is now known as the “United States of America”. 

Where did the idea of IPD emerge & when? 

  • Columbus Day is a Federal holiday also on the 2nd Monday of October established in 1934. Columbus is credited for “discovering” inhabited lands. He led four expeditions in the Caribbean, South America, and Turtle Island with consequences of “opening the gateway” for enslavement, and genocide of whole nations of Indigenous people (Churchill, 1994).  As with all federal holidays non-essential entities remain closed (such as, banks and postal services). Columbus Day is still a federal holiday. 
  • 1992, Berkeley, California is the first known city to create a city-wide recognition of First Nations and Indigenous People. (Seattle Times, 2019) Recognizing the 14,000+ years of the existence of Native people before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

  • However in, 1977 the United Nations discuss discrimination against Indigenous peoples and this marked the emergence of the U.S. First Nations recognitions.

  • 1992-Current Day Cities & States recognize IPD. Such as, Alexandria, VA., Bloomington, IA. California, Washington State, Dallas, TX., Davis, CA., District of Columbia, Keene, NH. and Seattle, WA., are a few of the hundreds that now recognize today as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

Does it replace Columbus Day?

  • Columbus Day is a Federal Holiday – outside the jurisdiction of States & Cities
  • What is the purpose of Columbus Day? What cause and formal action does Columbus stand for? Is it useful? For who? 

Why is this important?

  • How does honoring original caretakers and stewards (Indigenous people) support human evolution and transformation? 
  • How can you learn more about Indigenous people, history, and connection to land, people, and place? 



Columbus Day is still a federal holiday. If we look closely at the legacy… What does Columbus represent? If we look at the facts and the other side of history (of genocide and conquest) – should we celebrate that cause? What is the formal action and awareness around honoring Columbus? What cause or purpose does this fulfill?  Does Columbus’ history and impact prepare us to serve the greater good of humanity or not? 

Call to action 


  • Support tribal organizations and entities be sure to search online for credible organizations. *Note that most tribally recognized organizations are affiliated with the government and have a “.nsn” URL. 
  • Attend locally-organized events.
  • Support & Research First Peoples’ initiatives such as Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women Initiatives (MMIW), Truth & Reconciliation government initiatives that recognize the wrongful treatment of Native people and children, #LandBack. Check out the First Nations Development Institute for other tribally-owned/Native Hawaiian run initiatives and organizations in your area.  
  • How does honoring original caretakers and stewards (Indigenous people) support human evolution and transformation?  What do you think we (Native peoples) have to offer for environmental sustainability, impact, and collective responsibility to the land and each other? 


Land Acknowledgement // land & people are synonymous
Creating Spaces of Belonging – Mighty Network Free Online Course

The Land You Are Standing On Was Once Ours: Land Acknowledgements & 4 Reasons Why Organizations Should Consider Them. Laronal, K. (October 14, 2020).

Interactive Map of Traditional Place Names and Shared Homelands – See Who’s Land Your On…

Seattle Times Article, Oct. 14, 2019, Here’s the Story behind Indigenous Peoples’ Day and how Seattle is marking it.”

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