Why We Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day: From Natives In America

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Some thoughts on today from our incredible team:

“There’s a lot of pain that’s comes along with a holiday celebrating the genocide of my people, but there’s also a lot of power. There’s a pride and a power that comes from still existing, from having survived genocide, from knowing our cultures still continue to thrive. If we take a cue from our ancestors, we see there are two options: get swept away in the pain, or use it to our advantage. I choose the latter.” Julia Hayden Wakeford, Mvskoke (Creek) Nation

“Today is not a day for Celebration, rather should be a day of remembrance. Remembrance of all that our ancestors had to go through to provide the life that we have today. Remembrance for all the hardships that we as indigenous people must still face in the years to come. Do not celebrate this day, rather remember this day as a day of recognition for the pain and suffering that our ancestors were forced to face.” Collin Church, Potawattomi

“In many places, like my home state of California, Columbus Day is something ignored by the local government but celebrated in schools & by stores for sales. It feels hard to escape. But then there are places (like OKC) where people are pushing for Indigenous People’s Day and places that already do (like Seattle). To me this day is a day to remember our ancestors and what they went through so that we may still have a fighting chance; what we go through so our next generations can thrive too. The fact that people ate ‘celebrating’ today as Indigenous People’s Day gives me hope that one day everyone will recognize the day as we do.” Bridgette Jameson, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Photo credit: Orlando Begay, Diné