Dear Tanenbaum Community,
Today is being recognized by people, cities, and states as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a day to honor and celebrate Indigenous communities across the U.S. Decades of activist communities, most notably the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the Native American Youth Movement (NAYM), have pushed for an alternative to Columbus Day since the 1970s. As of now, over 130 cities in 15 states, and a growing number of school districts, celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of, or in addition to, Columbus Day.
This pause is an opportunity to honor indigenous peoples and commemorate their rich histories and cultures. Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day is part of an ongoing effort to hear history from the perspective of first nations people. It is a day to celebrate Native cultures and recognize the fights for justice and autonomy that indigenous people still face globally. At Tanenbaum, we’d like to offer some ways to honor Indigenous peoples today, and every day –
- Celebrating Indigenous People Instead of Columbus: Many Native Americans balk at the idea of celebrating Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of a land they had already called home for centuries—and of dedicating a holiday to a man who sparked what they call a genocide.
- Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the Rise of Indigenous Voices: Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamations are rapidly replacing Columbus Day across the U.S. In this episode, the NDN Collective talks to five Indigenous activists and organizers about their work and what Indigenous Peoples’ Day means to them.
- Earth & the Divine Webinar Conversation: The conversation drew on the Lenape community’s work to increase local biodiversity, and the grassroots sustainability work of Bhumi Global with Hindu communities and international communities’ writ large. Watch to learn more about how religious communities at the local, regional, and global levels are relating to and being responsible for the Earth.
- Columbus in America: A documentary on the rise and fall of an American icon.
- An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States: In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them.
- Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years: More than 80 essays, poems, interviews, historical vignettes, and lesson plans reevaluate the myth of Columbus and issues of indigenous rights.
- ‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change: With the examples provided by the Standing Rock Sioux and the curricular supports provided by the Zinn Education Project, the power mapping exercise was not just theoretical for my students, but was a case of real stakes in the struggle for climate justice.
- Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day NYC: Signing the petition, ”Recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day” as a holiday serves as an opportunity for New Yorkers to learn even more about the cultural history associated with the Indigenous Peoples of this region and the land on which we live.
On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we must take time to remember the lives that were stolen, the wealth extracted, and those who fought – along with those who continue to fight – for an end to the legacy of colonialism.
Rev. Mark Fowler,