Biden Becomes First President to Honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day

In Summary

President Joe Biden has recognized the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the impact Christopher Columbus had on Native Americans.  

President Joe Biden became the first president to honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States.  

According to The Washington Post, on Friday, Biden honored the strength of Native Americans while still giving Columbus credit for his exploration. However, he also noted the negative impact Columbus had on Native Americans in the United States.  

“Since time immemorial, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians have built vibrant and diverse cultures — safeguarding land, language, spirit, knowledge, and tradition across the generations,” the proclamation said.  

The second Monday in October will now be known as both Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day on the federal level. More cities and states are also doing the same.  

Boston Mayor Kim Janey, the first Black woman to hold the position, has also signed an executive order commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

Janey signed an executive order on October 6, designating the holiday. According to the City of Boston, this order falls under the City of Boston’s commitment “to recognizing the Indigenous history, celebrating cultures, strengthening relationships, denouncing colonial past, and increasing dialogue with local tribes to foster reconciliation and support for the rights of Indigenous people.”  

RELATED: Kim Janey Becomes Boston’s First Black, First Woman Mayor 

“Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates the rich cultural legacies of our Indigenous communities while also declaring Boston is ready to work with our neighbors to create a more just future,” Janey said. “With Boston’s long history comes an opportunity and obligation to acknowledge the difficult parts of our past and dedicate ourselves to fostering a more equitable City. Observing Indigenous Peoples Day is about replacing the colonial myths passed down from generation to generation with the true history of the land upon which our nation was founded.” 

RELATED: Christopher Columbus Statues Taken Down at 2 Chicago Parks  

As the history of the way Christopher Columbus and colonizers treated Native Americans gains more attention, many states and cities are turning away from Columbus Day. Instead, they are choosing to celebrate Indigenous people, their history and their contributions to society. The states Oregon and Nebraska and the cities Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Athens and Hartford also passed similar measures to honor Indigenous people. 

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.  

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