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Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 10/11/2021

Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day! As a celebration of inclusion, Indigenous Peoples' Day is observed on Columbus Day—commemorating the first inhabitants of the Americas who lived on the land long before Christopher Columbus “discovered” it. According to the Smithsonian, since the creation of Columbus Day in 1972, Native American people have been protesting the holiday as a celebration of the colonial takeover of the lands, leading to the death of millions of indigenous people and the forced assimilation of survivors. 17 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia recognize the day as Indigenous Peoples' Day, and President Joe Biden became the first president to officially recognize the holiday.

In observance of Indigenous Peoples' Day, educators may want to share the history of the American Indian through online services offered by the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has an online portal that holds exhibitions for site visitors to access. Exhibits include a collection of art and history, virtual exploration of land from native empires, and experience spiritual, cultural, and social practices of native people.

These resources are also great to use year-round, including around Thanksgiving and whenever discussing the early Americas!