By Elle Prax, Community Relations and Outreach Specialist

In 1992, Berkeley, California celebrated Indigenous People’s Day in protest of a planned Columbus Day celebration that will reenact ships arriving at harbor. Since then, many other cities and states across the country have followed suit, choosing to honor the rich heritage that have existed prior to colonization and the resilience of indigenous peoples over the last five centuries.

This year, President Biden’s proclamation emphasized on recognizing October 9, 2023 as an acknowledgement to the truth of colonization and policies that marginalized indigenous communities:

For generations, it was the shameful policy of our Nation to remove Indigenous peoples from their homelands; force them to assimilate; and ban them from speaking their own languages, passing down ancient traditions, and performing sacred ceremonies.  Countless lives were lost, precious lands were taken, and their way of life was forever changed.  In spite of unimaginable loss and seemingly insurmountable odds, Indigenous peoples have persisted.  They survived.  And they continue to be an integral part of the fabric of the United States.

A Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2023, The White House

Indigenous People’s Day acknowledges the impacts of yesterday to the lives of our people today.