Indigenous Women: Nations, Cultures, Voices

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Indigenous People's Day

b2ap3_thumbnail_IPD-poster.jpgDid you know that the second Monday in October in the United States is Indigenous People's Day?

In 1977, at the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations held in Geneva, Switzerland, a discussion began about a response to the travesty of celebrating Columbus Day and eventually led to the establishment of an Indigenous People's Day. This day is meant to replace Columbus Day and to celebrate the cultures and commemorate the struggles of Native Americans since European colonization.Though many cities in the U.S. celebrate Indigenous People's Day, it has not been made an official national holiday--yet.

However, just recently in 2014, City Council governments of Seattle, Washington and Minneapolis, MN have officially created an Indigenous People's Day to replace Columbus day. This was accomplished by a widespread grassroots coalition of Native peoples, Tribal governments and leaders from several Native nations, and non-Native activists who turned up the pressure.

Why is celebrating Columbus Day a national concern? Though many Americans remain unaware of the crimes against humanity Christopher Columbus committed, the record is clear. In his own words, Columbus writes explicitly about the mass murder and enslavement of Indigenous peoples he encountered, with the full permission of the Papal Bulls (laws allowing the murder of all non-Christian peoples and confiscation of their lands for the Catholic church). Women and lesbian, gay, and transgendered people were specifically targeted for violation and murder, making the abolishment of Columbus Day an issue especially pertinent to the SageWoman community.

An educational article and video can be seen at this link.



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Dr. Mays is a professional writer with a doctoral degree in Native American Studies who has taught at the college level for nearly two decades. She is committed to educating about Indigenous cultures, especially about practices that specifically relate to women, in order to raise awareness about current issues in Indian Country, dissolve stereotypes, and create healing among all communities.


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