By Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair
Today, Oct. 12 is Indigenous People’s Day. holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities.
The notion of an Indigenous Peoples Day took root at an international conference on discrimination sponsored by the United Nations in 1977. South Dakota was the first state to recognize the day in 1989, and the cities of Berkeley and Santa Cruz, California, followed. California and Tennessee observe Native American Day in September, according to a recent article in USA today.
Though some groups argue that Columbus Day celebrates Italian American heritage, many say the holiday glorifies an exploration that led to the genocide of native peoples and paved the way for slavery.
Though Washington State is not on the list of states that officially celebrate it, many local cities and municipalities recognize the day as Indigenous People’s Day.
The Interagency Committee of State Employed Women celebrates diversity and stands with our Native communities and Natives employed by the state of Washington as allies. ICSEW has recently added tribal land acknowledgements at the start of its meetings and is actively recruiting a pool of volunteers who can rotate in to fulfil this role. There has also been some talk with the Office of Financial Management to add a Native Community Business Resource Group to its growing number of BRGs. The OFM coordinates formation of these groups, and the ICSEW collaborates with these groups to promote intersectionality and anti-racism in state government through its partnerships subcommittee. We often cross promote their events, trainings and news on our blog.
Because of the pandemic, in-person events related to Indigenous people’s day have been curtailed. However, many groups and universities are hosting virtual ones.
Here are a few:
- Washington State University: https://news.wsu.edu/announcement/indigenous-peoples-day-celebrated-october-14-wsu/