Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2023

Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2023

Beacons of resilience, strength, and perseverance who have made incredible contributions to our nation’s past, present, and continue to shape our future.

By: Christen Bourgeois Date: October 6th, 2023

On Monday, October 9th, we honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a day of reflection of our history in the U.S., the role Native people have played in it, the impacts that history has had on Native people and communities, and a day to gain some understanding of the diversity of Indigenous people.

President Biden recently issued a proclamation observing this day to honor Native Americans, their “resilience, strength, and perseverance” and “determination to preserve cultures, identities, and ways of life,” even as they have faced “violence and devastation.”

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is also recognized on the same day as the federally recognized Columbus Day holiday (also called Native Americans’ Day).

The idea was first proposed by Indigenous people at a United Nations conference in 1977 held to address discrimination against Nativesas NPR has reported. It became an official observance through the presidential proclamation in 2021.

Today, not every city or state recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day—nor does every city or state recognize Columbus Day.

Activists in Seattle have protested Columbus Day for years and in many cases have fought to gain recognition for Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Supporters say it may help bring attention to some of the ways Indigenous people are discriminated against and are disproportionately affected by climate change, gender violence and health issues, as well as to the Indigenous lands affected by mining, drilling and both public and private projects.

It’s Origin /

Since the 1970s, activists have called for Columbus Day to be abolished and replaced with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In 2021, President Biden officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a federal holiday, but it was recognized by many communities and cities decades before then. In 2014, urban Indigenous activists and allies in Seattle pushed for recognition, which was supported by local tribes. After initial opposition, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, though official recognition didn’t come until 2022, when the council voted to legally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a city holiday.

Despite the genocide Indigenous peoples have been subjected to by European colonizers in this country, the rest of the Americas, and the world, Indigenous peoples are still here. They have remained resilient through forced assimilation and oppression and despite the many forms of discrimination they face today, from healthcare inequity to attempted erasure of their cultures and existence. While recognizing the inequities Indigenous peoples face, it is also important to recognize their achievements and celebrate their lives.

Events /

2023 Indigenous Peoples Day Closures for Seattle Parks and Recreation
Many Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities will be CLOSED on Monday, October 9th in observance of the Indigenous Peoples Day holiday.

Kuroshio Odyssey: Maritime Memories, Culture, and Landscapes
Saturday, October 14 – Tuesday, November 28
Burke Museum and Tateuchi East Asia Library, Seattle, WA
Taiwan Studies Arts & Culture Program welcomes you to the Kuroshio Odyssey: Maritime Memories, Culture, and Landscapes—a serial program that focuses on the diverse Indigenous communities of eastern Taiwan and their stunning natural world. The program features a series of in-person displays, online exhibits, crafting workshops, film screenings, and scholarly roundtables across the UW-Seattle campus. Registrations are required for all the Kuroshio Odyssey events (spaces are limited; first come first served). Please RSVP >> bit.ly/KuroshioRSVP

In Honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Reclaiming Women’s and Survivors’ Voices to Re-center Indigenous Advocacy
Wednesday, October 18 at 12:00p
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), Indigenous cultures recognize the power, leadership, and expertise of women. Additionally, the leadership and expertise of survivors to end intimate partner violence need to be reaffirmed. This panel of elder indigenous advocates will discuss how women’s and survivors’ voices are necessary for guiding policy and the development of programs. Daily program practices should reflect the experiences of women and survivors. This conversation also addresses questions about forums for teaching, learning, and sharing. Is there an opportunity for teaching in programs and shelters? How do we do meaningful inclusive work? Register today >>

Thursday, October 19 at 6:00a – 7:30a (In-person)
Washington State Historical Society, 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402
Join Indigenous educator Owen Oliver (Quinault/Isleta Pueblo) to explore how a place gets a name and what the names of specific locations can teach us about values held by communities. Participants will consider how we can use place names to enhance community connections and build strategies to engage with Tribes to revitalize place names. This workshop is FREE to attend and open to the public. Teachers who attend the workshop will be eligible for clock hours toward continuing education requirements. Register today >>

In Honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Supporting Survivors at the Intersections of Mental Health and Substance Use (NCDVTMH)
Thursday, October 19 at 12:00p – 1:00p
This session is part of the Survivor Health Connections Consortium, which is a project in partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Futures Without Violence; and is supported by Grant #90EV0530 from the Office of Family Violence Prevention and Services. Being abused by an intimate partner can have traumatic mental health and substance use effects, while at the same time creating barriers to sources of safety and support. Advocates and survivors have shared how existing behavioral health (i.e., mental health and/or substance use) resources are often hard to access and not responsive to the unique realities faced by survivors and their families. The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health has been developing a suite of resources in response to feedback from survivors, advocates, and others in the field who participated in listening sessions or a survey in late 2022. This webinar will share new and forthcoming tools to support survivors, advocates, behavioral health providers, and organizations in talking about mental health and substance use coercion, identifying resources, building cross-referrals, supporting collaboration, and increasing safe access to affirming services. Register today >>

(REWATCH) Webinar: Understanding the Dynamics and Tactics of Intimate Partner Violence through the Lens of Indigenous Survivors
Wednesday, October 25 at 12:00p
Advocacy for survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) requires an understanding of the dynamics and tactics of IPV. This understanding is also necessary for advocacy for social change to end domestic violence. This webinar will provide an overview of the root causes of domestic violence in Indigenous communities. It will also explain the dynamics and tactics of IPV from a survivor’s perspective. Highlighted in this webinar is the importance of traditional, cultural practices in strengthening and building our capacity to provide effective, respectful advocacy with our relatives surviving IPV and other forms of domestic violence. It is our goal to bring light to the experiences of survivors and clarify the priorities and role of advocates from an Indigenous, grassroots standpoint. The Training and Technical Assistance Team will also be live in the chat and Q&A at the end of the pre-webinar recording. Register today >>

Inaugural Indigenous Health Professionals Gathering
Saturday, November 4 at 5:00p (PT)
Gathering Hall – wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, 4249 Whitman Court Seattle, WA 98195
In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we gather in community with Indigenous health professionals at UW and across the Seattle area! This event is open to all students in a health professions program (Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Public Health, Social Work, etc.) and current professionals. Families, partners, and loved ones are welcome to attend. This event is generously sponsored by the Nakani Native Program. Food will be provided. Please RSVP >>

Rock Your Mocs Day
Wednesday, November 15

Join U.S. Indian Affairs by sharing your mocs photos with us through our social media platforms. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Remember to Tag @USIndianAffairs on your posts and stories for a chance to be featured on our highlights!

SAVE THE DATE: 2024 Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Indigenous Foods Symposium 
Friday, May 3 – Saturday, May 4, 2024
This event will be hosted by the UW Department of American Indian Studies and the Na’ah Illahee Fund at the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House on UW Seattle campus. The call for presentation abstracts and registration information are forthcoming. Please share! Ahé’héé (thank you). Learn more >>

Listen /

Listen to KEXP 90.3 FM or online at KEXP.org on Indigenous Peoples’ Day for special on-air programming all day.

Why Is This Happening? The Chris Hayes Podcast

Readings /

Chief Seattle and the Town That Took His Name: The Change of Worlds for the Native People and Settlers on Puget Sound by David M. Buerge. We should all know more about the person our city is named after—but until this book was written, there were only fragments. This book fills in some rich details of the life and times of “Chief Seattle” and our city’s complex history with him and his legacy.

Native seattle. Histories from the Crossing-over Place by Coll Thrush. A MUST READ to learn Seattle’s native past and present. This book takes you into the details the history books don’t tell you. Very enlightening.

NPR, Goodbye, Columbus? Here’s what Indigenous Peoples’ Day means to Native Americans

NPR, Seattle Swaps Columbus Day For ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’

Nurturing Antiracist Kids by , Twenty #ownvoices children’s books about Native Americans and First Nations Canadians

Public Health – Seattle & King County – Racism is a public health crisis: the transformation starts here. It starts with us.

Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk by Sasha LaPointe. A journey of discovery and self-awareness and identity as an indigenous woman—coming of age and adulting amid a complex and perplexing world, interwoven with the threads of personal, ancestral, and regional histories, traumas, and newfound values. A great book to help you gain insight on contemporary indigenous experiences, identities, and world views.

Seattle Indian Health Board, Sexual Violence Among Native Women: A Public Health Emergency

Seattle Public Schools, Native American Heritage Month: We Are More Than a Month

THE HUDDLE, Indigenous Peoples’ Day – Celebrating the resilience of Indigenous people in the Americas and rewriting the colonizer narrative of Columbus Day

The Library of Congress, Native American Heritage Month

The New York Times, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Explained. Many cities and states are observing the day. Here’s some of the history behind it.

The River That Made Seattle. A Human and Natural History of the Duwamish by BJ Cummings. In the PNW, rivers define place. And the Duwamish River has defined Seattle—including its “modern” conversion into a polluted industrial zone. This wonderful book tells the story of our city’s river, and its native people, and their central place in Seattle and Pacific Northwest history—as well as how indigenous people and others are working to restore the ecological and spiritual values of the river that defines our city.

The Seattle Times, Charming memoir ‘This Indian Kid’ puts emphasis on pride and good humor

TIME magazine, What Killers of The Flower Moon Doesn’t Show About Osage Nation’s Legacy

University of Washington Magazine, New generation learns the Puget Sound region’s Native language, Southern Lushootseed

Urban Indian Health Institute, Our Bodies, Our Stories. A report detailing the alarming statistics surrounding sexual violence against predominantly low-income or homeless Native women living in Seattle.

U.S. Department of the Interior Native Affairs, National Native American Heritage Month – Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty and Identity

USA TODAY, Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day 2023: What to know about the date, history

UW Medicine, Right as Rain, What Día de Muertos Can Teach Us About Healthy Grieving

Washington, D.C. — Reps. Torres, Bonamici, Davids, & Delbene and Sens. Heinrich & Luján lead Bicameral bill to commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Resources /

A Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2023

First Nations @ UW

Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative

Pew Research Center, Working on Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day? It depends on where your job is

Mother Nation – Seattle-based non-profit organization that delivers social and cultural healing services for Native women that nurture, create stability, and inspire growth through sisterhood. Providing cultural healing circles, homeless prevention, mentorship, workshops, and training to transform the journey of Native women into natural leadership and restore the cultural strength of Native people in the world.

Native Land Digital Map – Find out what Native American tribes called your area home

National Domestic Violence Hotline Native American Services (Call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or Text “START” to 88788)

Seattle Urban Native Nonprofits Resources

UW, Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI)

UW, Native Life and Tribal Relations

UW, Office of Tribal Relations

UW, The Center for Indigenous Health

Opportunities /

Native Creative Development Grant Programs™ – The House of Welcome Cultural Center recognizes the importance of supporting the arts at the source—by supporting artists themselves.

Places to Visit /

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House. This on-campus resource at the University of Washington main campus serves to increase American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students’ success by preparing them for leadership roles in their tribal communities and the region.

Videos to Watch /

UW, Indigenous Walking Tour

THE HUDDLE, The Whole U, NPR, The New York Times