October 10th should be declared Indigenous Peoples' Day

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Indigenous Peoples' Rights Program endorses the call of the Onondaga Nation to declare October 10th Indigenous Peoples' Rights Day. The Onondaga released the following statement:

There are many causes for activists to champion. October presents us with another – turning Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples Day. It has begun and is succeeding in many locales across America. Will you help spread it to your local area? Will you turn a celebration of colonialism and inaccurate history into an opportunity to learn and spread historical truths about genocide and oppression? Will you raise your voices on October 10th against current injustices? Will you challenge everyone to recognize and admire indigenous resistance and steadfastness in the face of enormous adversity?

Take inspiration from:

Middle school students described their Indigenous Peoples' day effort. After they studied primary sources and learned the real facts about Columbus' voyages and misadventures from his own writing, they succeeded in getting their school board to place change the day on the school calendar.

A teacher of Italian-American descent united with Tuscarora Indian students and got the Niagara Wheatfield School Board to reject Columbus Day and adopt Indigenous Peoples Day.

Tompkins County, NY joined a growing list of municipalities and organizations to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day. Located in Tompkins County, Cornell University's student assembly passed a similar resolution previously.

Unitarian Universalists invites members and congregations to join people across the United States in honoring Indigenous Peoples Day with suggested activities.

Denver approves permanent recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Columbus Day when the Denver City Council approves designation 12-0, following lead of Boulder and other cities.

Last year the Indigenous Students at Syracuse University, which represents Native American and indigenous undergraduate and graduate students, petitioned the university to make a policy change on campus to recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples' Day. A Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion dated August of 2016 states that the policy has been implemented. Since the campus is on traditional territory the Haudenosaunee flag will be flown wherever the American flag is flown on campus. In addition, “Indigenous Students at Syracuse (ISAS) and the Indigenous Graduate Students (IGS) will plan and sponsor events, work to raise awareness, and create dialogue on campus to continue discussions around indigenous world views, cultures, and histories.”

It's not too early right now to organize and begin working for a change in 2017. Learn the true facts, teach others, select a target and make a plan. Like the students at Stafford Middle school you will undoubtedly need to go back and go back and go back. But if they can persist and achieve their goal, so can you.