The Importance of Indigenous People’s Day all over the World

Christiana Smith, Reporter

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a nationwide celebration that celebrates Native American history, people, and culture on the second Monday of October. The holiday first began as a counter-celebration to the holiday Columbus Day which celebrates the Italian explorer credited with “discovering America.” However, over the past thirty or so years, people have started looking at the past and realizing that Columbus didn’t discover America, nor did he ever step foot in the place we call America today. He landed in the modern-day Bahamas, where he enslaved many of the indigenous people he dubbed “Indians” and subjected them to extreme violence and torture. People are now rejecting Columbus Day entirely in favor of Indigenous People’s Day because they believe that Columbus Day is simply a celebration of colonization and the oppression of Indigenous people.

On October 11, 2021, Joe Biden proclaimed the day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day and officially became the first president to do so. Biden also acknowledged the horrific and violent acts of Columbus and other explorers. The day is still called Columbus Day in some parts of the world. Since the 18th century, many Italian communities have celebrated the “Discovery of the New World” to celebrate their heritage even though Italy did not exist when Columbus swore allegiance to the King of Spain. Nevertheless, Columbus Day continues to be celebrated in Italy, Latin America, and other countries. However, today thirteen states no longer celebrate Columbus Day, and that number is continuing to grow. In cities worldwide, statues of Columbus have started being taken down, and countries have started recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day as a national holiday.