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This Indigenous Peoples’ Day Couldn’t Be More Important in Native Organizers Alliance

Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day – October 12
It is a day to reflect on the history of Native peoples in the U.S. and the world. It is also a day to remind everyone that in the 21st Century Native peoples remain a vibrant part of political and cultural life.

This year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day couldn’t be more important. The issues our Native nations are facing are urgent and stark. The COVID-19 pandemic has harmed us more than most. Our people suffer from police violence. We continue to fight to protect our sacred places. And our communities are on the front lines of climate change.


in The Conversation

Every year there is debate over whether today should be celebrated as “Columbus Day” or renamed “Indigenous Peoples Day.” In 2020, that discussion comes amid a broader moment of national reflection over U.S. history and how it has disadvantaged nonwhite Americans.

Abel Gomez of Syracuse University believes the conversation needs to move beyond what we call the federal holiday. Instead, we should use it as an an opportunity to reflect on calls from Native groups for the return of ancestral lands taken from them during the making of America, he writes.

Indigenous Peoples Day comes amid a reckoning over colonialism and calls for return of Native land


American Indian and Indigenous Studies at UNCA

UNC Asheville’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS) minor is offered through the university’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

AIIS provides students with an understanding and appreciation of the broad historical, political, social, and economic issues and realities pertaining to indigenous societies and communities, both locally and globally, since the pre-colonial era through colonialism to modern times.

The minor incorporates an interdisciplinary framework of materials, methodologies and cross-cultural comparisons from the fields of social sciences and humanities. Students will examine historical and contemporary issues of power relations, representation, capitalism, coloniality, identity and ecology, along with social and cultural expressions rooted in the experiences and voices of indigenous peoples.

Particular emphasis is placed on language revitalization, specifically in the Cherokee language. Courses in Cherokee are offered through UNC Asheville’s Department of Languages & Literatures.  CLICK FOR MORE>

What is the history behind Indigenous Peoples’ Day? ( at University of North Carolina)

Indigenous Peoples’ Day came about as an alternative to Columbus Day in the late 1980s. It is a holiday that aims to celebrate Native Americans and indigenous populations across the United States. The holiday, celebrated Oct. 12, is gaining popularity in more cities and states across the country.

UNC-Chapel Hill history professor Malinda Maynor Lowery, who also serves as director of the University’s Center for the Study of the American South, shares the history of the holiday.

What are the origins of Columbus Day, and how did it become a holiday?

Benjamin Harrison was president between 1889 and 1893, and he first proposed that we, as a nation, celebrate Christopher Columbus. Some local communities had been creating parades and events to honor Columbus since 1792. The larger purpose was to honor descendants of immigrants who connect to Columbus’s story, or who otherwise benefited from his voyages. The narrative that America is a nation of immigrants was not popular when Harrison was president. This was a time period when people were beginning to clamp down on the exclusion of Asian Americans from American society. People were beginning to close borders in different ways to different immigrant populations in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The word nativist, which doesn’t refer to Native Americans or American Indians, refers to the idea that White Anglo-Saxon Protestants were the only true Americans. That nativist sympathy was heating up in the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction as American society itself was reorganizing during that time. CLICK FOR MORE >


SheVille Team

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