Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates our Indigenous, Native American heritage and contributions to U.S. culture on the second Monday in October.
Many countries celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on October 12 to counter the Spanish National Day which some celebrate as
Columbus Day. [NOTE: Columbus triggered an Indigenous genocide in the Americas. The man himself was so cruel to Indigenous Americans that his Spanish sponsors called him home, stripped his wealth, jailed him and put him on trial. Nobody should be proud of that man.]
We Are Still Here, We Have Always Been Here
It has to be said that the colonization of the Americas and the founding of the United States began with an Indigenous genocide. In the USA, we are terribly marginalized. South of the border, Indigenous Peoples dominate. The difference is just plain weird.
Americans of the United States have been taught false colonial narratives about Indigenous Peoples. At the moment of colonial European contact in 1492, the Americas were filled with Indigenous Peoples who managed and farmed the land. Trade networks ran from Tierra del Fuego (Argentina and Chile) to the Arctic, and from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
European contact brought diseases from domesticated animals that caused an epidemic with a 95% death rate in a few short years. The COVID-19 death rate is between 1-3%. So out of a clan of 20, just one person might survive. Think about that for a moment. For context imagine that everyone who died of Covid is alive, and all who survived are dead. Imagine the horror of being the 1 in 20 who survived.
This was followed by the freeing of European pigs which destroyed Indigenous farms, and endless military campaigns famous for their brutality.
Then the colonizers enslaved the Indigenous Peoples. It’s said that they would just give up and die. Actually they were worked to death in slave labor camps feeding European gold lust.
Then the US Army and organizations like Texas Rangers pursued an extermination campaign which didn’t end until 1877. The heartfelt words of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce people, the last free Indigenous Americans were, “I will fight no more forever.”
The American Ever War is a vestige of our British heritage. We haven’t stopped fighting since World War II. The Afghanistan mess was the latest example of the Ever War.
Then there was the taking of Indigenous children who were forcibly taken from their families, taught to forget their heritage and deny their roots in the name of Christianity. Canada is digging up their graves around old churches. So is the United States. Wow!
Today we are becoming aware of the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women. Authorities don’t seem to care when they disappear.
Americans of the USA have been taught that the land was empty. It was never empty, but the reason for the depopulation was a genocide of the First Nations, the First Americans.
Americans are taught that Indigenous Peoples are gone, but that’s not true either. Men and children were killed and women were taken as wives. The US Army force marched Eastern Indigenous Americans to Oklahoma. Many died on the way. That was probably the point.
So we are still here. We have always been here and our spirit always will be for we are the guardians of the land.
It’s strange that the US government recognizes other genocides around the world, but not our own. Now that we know, we can work together to create a better future for all Americans, including the First Nations.