Today is Indigenous People’s Day

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.

Virtual Events

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:

RELATED CONTENT: Commentary: Tribal Land Acknowledgements https://icsew.wa.gov/2019/11/29/commentary-tribal-land-acknowledgements/

ICSEW Recruiting Individuals to Deliver Native Land Acknowledgements

The Interagency Committee of State Employed Women, ICSEW is recruiting for an individual (s) to deliver Native Land Acknowledgements at meetings and events.

Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.

Part of this effort is to be deliberate in including an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement at the beginning of each of our general membership meetings. Our goal is provide space for Indigenous identities and agency for Indigenous voices to be heard, welcomed, and honored.

We are respectfully reaching out to those of Indigenous descent, whether your people are federally recognized or not, in search of those who would be willing to share an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement at the one or more of our ICSEW general membership meetings. Individuals do not need to be state employees nor members of the ICSEW.

The ICSEW meets the third Tuesday of each odd numbered month from 8:30 a.m to noon. Due to the pandemic, ICSEW is hosting its meetings virtually, via Zoom and Facebook Live until further notice. The Land Acknowledgement is held briefly at the start of each meeting.

If you are interested please contact us at ICSEW@ofm.wa.gov