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Tribute to Indigenous Peoples Today, 2022

(Beyond pesticidesOctober 10, 2022) The National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian Institution, is on the National Mall in Washington, DC and as part of its history program is commemorating Indigenous Peoples Day October 10. This year, President Biden, while commemorating Columbus Day, released the second Presidential Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples Day. The National Museum of the American Indian marks this day by striving to teach the true history of the United States. This story is introduced on the Museum’s website with the following:

Unlearning Columbus Day Myths: Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day
“Many students learn the phrase, ‘In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the blue ocean.’ But Columbus was not the first foreign explorer to land in the Americas. Neither he nor those before him discovered America, as indigenous peoples populated the Western Hemisphere for tens of thousands of years. European contact resulted in devastating loss of life, disruption of tradition and enormous loss of land for the indigenous peoples of the Americas. It is estimated that in the 130 years since first contact, Native American America lost 95% of its population.

“Indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere immediately experienced slavery and resource theft by explorers turned settlers. Colonies created by the Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch, and English grew across the Americas and increasingly encroached on Indigenous lives and lands. War, slavery, and forced resettlement have disrupted and altered the lives of Indigenous peoples in the Americas. Celebrating Columbus and other explorers like him discounts the devastating losses suffered by Indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere in the past and the continuing effects of colonialism today.

“Indigenous people are still there. Contemporary Native Americans have led many movements to defend their own rights. Indigenous peoples continue to struggle to maintain the integrity and viability of Indigenous societies. The story of the American Indians is one of cultural persistence, creative adaptation, renewal and resilience. Indigenous peoples, students, and allies are responsible for official Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations in states including Maine, Oregon, Louisiana, New Mexico, Iowa, and Washington, DC. Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October and recognizes the resilience and diversity of Indigenous peoples in the United States.

“We encourage the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives, such as those of the Taíno peoples, to provide a fuller narrative when teaching Columbus. We encourage students to champion Indigenous Peoples Day as a replacement for Columbus Day in their school, city, state, and beyond.

Fenway Community Health Center on Indigenous Peoples Day

Fenway Community Health Center in Boston, Massachusetts eliminated Columbus Day as a holiday, replacing it with a floating holiday that individual staff can use for a religious or cultural celebration/occasion or for other purposes of their choosing. This milestone was reached in August 2020 as part of its broad organizational commitment to “racial equity in all that we do and to work to eliminate the disparities and inequalities that exist.” Fenway Health explains that its mission “advocates and provides innovative, equitable, and accessible health care, support services, and transformative research and education. It also centers LGBTQIA+ people, BIPOC [Black, indigenous, People of Color] individuals and other underserved communities to enable our local, national and global neighbors to thrive. As Fenway Health says, “This day is a time to honor and celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Native Americans to the United States. It is also a time to recognize and reflect on the severe mistreatment inflicted to indigenous peoples throughout the history of the United States.

A Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples Day, 2022, The White House

When the first presidential proclamation on Indigenous Peoples Day was released in 2021 (see the 2022 proclamation below), it said: “For generations, federal policies have systematically sought to assimilate and displace Indigenous peoples and eradicate Indigenous cultures. Today, we recognize the resilience and strength of Indigenous peoples and the immeasurable positive impact they have had on all aspects of American society. We also recommit to supporting a new and brighter future full of promise and equity for tribal nations – a future based on tribal sovereignty and respect for the human rights of Indigenous peoples in the Americas and around the world.

2022 Presidential Proclamation
On Indigenous Peoples Day, we honor the sovereignty, resilience, and immense contributions that Native Americans have made to the world; and we recommit to our solemn trust and treaty responsibilities to tribal nations, strengthening our nation-to-nation bonds.

For centuries, indigenous peoples have been forcibly removed from their ancestral lands, displaced, assimilated and prohibited from worshiping or performing many sacred ceremonies. Yet today they remain among our greatest environmental stewards. They maintain strong religious beliefs that still nourish the soul of our Nation. And they chose to serve in the United States Armed Forces at a higher rate than any other group. Indigenous peoples challenge us to face our past and do better, and their contributions to scholarship, law, the arts, public service, etc. continue to guide us forward.

I learned long ago that tribal nations are more successful when they make their own decisions. This is why my administration has made respect for tribal sovereignty and meaningful consultation with tribal nations a cornerstone of our engagement and why I was proud to reinstate the White House Council on Native American Affairs. To elevate Indigenous voices in our government, I have appointed Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, the first Native American to serve as Cabinet Secretary, along with more than 50 other Native Americans who now hold important positions. within the executive.

My administration also directly cares for Indigenous communities – creating jobs, providing essential services, and restoring and preserving sacred tribal lands. We have made the biggest investment in Indian country in history, securing billions for pandemic recovery, improved infrastructure and climate change resilience, and we are working with tribal nations to end the scourge of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

These efforts are a matter of dignity, justice and good faith. But we have more to do to help tribal communities emerge from the shadow of our broken promises, to protect their right to vote, and to help them access other opportunities their ancestors have long denied. On Indigenous Peoples Day, we celebrate Indigenous history and our new beginning together, honoring Native Americans for shaping the contours of this land since time immemorial.

THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 10, 2022 as Indigenous Peoples Day. I call on the people of the United States to observe this day through appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and the Indigenous peoples who help shape this nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have signed this seventh day of October in the year of grace two thousand twenty-two and of the independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.