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Indigenous Peoples Day (U.S.A.) - 2023

Authored by Abbie Fray
Published on 9th October, 2023 1 min read

Indigenous Peoples Day (U.S.A.)

Today (09/10/2023) is Indigenous Peoples Day (U.S.A.).

On 12 October 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived in what is now the Bahamas. In the U.S.A. the second Monday in October is known as Columbus Day to commemorate this event. Recently, Columbus Day has become controversial. Thus, Columbus Day has now changed its focus and is used to criticise Columbus and the colonisation of the Americas. Instead of celebrating European explorers, today aims to highlight the indigenous people who lived in the Americas before and after European colonisation. Indigenous people faced disease, population collapse, slavery, forced conversion to Christianity, and oppression at the hands of Europeans. The Navajo Nation, the largest indigenous tribe in the U.S., supports this shift in focus. This tribe has highlighted the harmful narratives perpetuated by Columbus Day. Many areas in the U.S. now celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October, instead of Columbus Day.  

In 2022, for the second year running, the Biden administration issued a public proclamation supporting Indigenous Peoples Day. Whilst not removing Columbus Day, this support signifies official recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day. Twenty-nine states do not celebrate Columbus Day, whilst Indigenous Peoples Day is observed in thirty states. Today highlights the importance of education with regard to the hardships faced by indigenous people, and thus the importance of the survival of their culture and communities. Across the U.S., celebrations of indigenous culture and history occur, providing an opportunity for people to honour the traditions of indigenous people and to remember the atrocities faced by these communities as a result of European colonisation.

Authored by Abbie Fray

Abbie Fray

Abbie Fray is an undergraduate student studying History at Durham University. She has a particular interest in the histories of gender and sexuality.

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Notable Days


The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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