“We’re still here”: Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration reflects ongoing resistance to colonization

Cities and states across the country are acknowledging this devastating history by rejecting the federal holiday of Columbus Day and celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead to honor centuries of indigenous resistance.

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Christopher Columbus arrived in the Bahamas 527 years ago this week, unleashing a brutal genocide that killed tens of millions of Native people across the hemisphere. Cities and states across the country are acknowledging this devastating history by rejecting the federal holiday of Columbus Day and celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead to honor centuries of indigenous resistance. Alaska, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin have all officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day. So have more than 130 cities and counties, from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas to smaller places like Livingston, Kentucky, and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Last week, Washington, D.C., became one of the latest to recognize the holiday. Washington, D.C., the District of Columbia, takes its name from Columbus. We speak with Iakowi:he’ne’ Oakes of the Snipe Clan. She is a Mohawk of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is the executive director of the American Indian Community House in New York.

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