Today, October 10, 2022, commemorates both Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day, like Columbus Day, is celebrated annually on the second Monday of October. Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors Native Americans and their histories and cultures. The idea for Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed at a 1977 United Nations conference held to address discrimination against Natives. In 1989, South Dakota was the first state to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and the state began officially celebrating it the following year. Today, at least 17 U.S. states celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day either instead of or in addition to Columbus Day.
In an October 7, 2022 official proclamation commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, President Biden made the following remarks:
“On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor the sovereignty, resilience, and immense contributions that Native Americans have made to the world; and we recommit to upholding our solemn trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations, strengthening our Nation-to-Nation ties. Indigenous Peoples were forcibly removed from ancestral lands, displaced, assimilated, and banned from worshiping or performing many sacred ceremonies. Yet today, they remain some of our greatest environmental stewards. They maintain strong religious beliefs that still feed the soul of our Nation. And they have chosen to serve in the United States Armed Forces at a higher rate than any other group. Native peoples challenge us to confront our past and do better, and their contributions to scholarship, law, the arts, public service, and more continue to guide us forward.”