Friday, October 1, 2021

October 11: Indigenous Peoples' Day, Columbus Day, or Both?

 October 11:     “Indigenous Peoples Day”  or “Columbus Day?”


Historically, October 11 has been celebrated as Columbus Day. However, beginning about 1990, October 11 has been referred to by many as “Indigenous Peoples Day”.   That's how I'm finding October 11 labeled on my 2021 "Nature Conservancy" calendar this year.

I rejoice in the shift to "Indigenous Peoples Day".   Why?  What's my reason?

At an American Natives Peoples' Celebration
Source: Wikipedia
Creative Commons license

Because of what I'd experienced as I grew up on land occupied throughout history by Indians until white settlers pushed them onto reservations. As a child, I lived in Tacoma, Washington, on land taken  from native peoples by settlers--European and Asian--in the early nineteenth century. In the 1940s I learned that “our” land was ripped away from Puyallup Indian people who’d there from ancient times. You can read more about the treatment of the Salish/Puyallup Indians in the on-line edition of Catholic Encyclopedia.

Currently I live in western Oregon, on land which was ripped away from Yahhela Indians. The Yahhela were overrun by settlers and then dispatched to a reservation near coastal Oregon. Their main business asset in 2021 is a casino. This attraction draws people from cities and towns around the area and provides the group with some income. I refer you to the “Kalapuya’ article in Wikipedia for details.

My point today is to remind myself and blog readers that it’s good to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on October 11, and to do all we can year after year to favor those indigenous peoples still among us and hold them in honor.  

Personally, I was grateful that, as a college teacher in Tacoma, WA (the “Tacoma” name was taken from the indigenous noun “Tahoma”), I was able to help an American Indian student complete a successful college career. After graduation, he went on to advanced degree work and ultimately found employment as a faculty member at Washington State University in Pullman. A success!

On Monday, October 11, 2021, I’ll be reflecting on native peoples in North American and South America. I’ll and hold them in honor and in my prayers. I invite you to join and use the day reading about and remembering the native peoples of your neighborhood. Legislators, I invite you to join by declaring the day to be a national holiday. Everyone, let’s advocate for local and federal legislation that supports indigenous peoples’ communities.

Thanks for reading. Please feel warmly invited to share your thoughts re. Indigenous Peoples' Day by clicking on the pencil image you'll see at the bottom of this page.   Oh yes, and please return next week for a new Friday post.  The "growing green" blog is a community endeavor. Please join in.  Click on the Pencil Image below to share your thoughts on Indigenous Peoples' Day.





At October 2, 2021 at 3:40 PM , Blogger Di Murphy said...

I've learned a lot lately about the historical myth of the Whitman Massacre and how the killing was used to advance
white settlement at the expense of indigenous people. The book, Murder at the Mission, is an excellent revisionist history account worth the read. It fits well with what you've emphasized in this blog, Darrell.


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