Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities. It began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Many reject celebrating him, saying that he represents “the violent history of the colonization in the Western Hemisphere,” and that Columbus Day is a sanitization or covering-up of Christopher Columbus’ actions such as enslaving Native Americans.
Indigenous People’s Day was instituted in Berkeley, California, in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Two years later, Santa Cruz, California, instituted the holiday. Starting in 2014, many other cities and states adopted the holiday.
Date: Monday, October 11, 2021
Significance: A day in honor of Native Indigenous Americans in opposition to the celebration of Columbus Day
Observed by: Various states and municipalities in the Americas on October 11th, in lieu of Columbus Day
Related to: National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada and Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Taiwan
First year: 1992
Also called: First People’s Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Columbus Day, or Native American Day