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.

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