Why Indigenous Peoples' Day?
Since time immemorial, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians have built vibrant and diverse cultures — safeguarding land, language, spirit, knowledge, and tradition across generations. Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations.
Indigenous Peoples have, and continue to make, important contributions that have shaped and continue to shape our nation. It is important that we as Americans find opportunities to celebrate the histories, cultures, and resilience of contemporary Indigenous Peoples that includes the 574 tribal nations and more than 500 million Indigenous peoples from across the Americas.
The story of Indigenous peoples’ in North America, past and present, are often forgotten, invisible or ignored. Images portrayed in popular entertainment, the news, and other influential media outlets perpetuates harmful stereotypes of Native people. Having a clear and truthful understanding of history and of the Indigenous experience allows the community to engage Native American peoples from a position of truth and has the capacity to bind us together as Americans.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative was established to challenge the negative narratives concerning Indigenous People as ‘noble savages’ which have been perpetuated by popular entertainment, the news media, educational curricula, and other influential sources. Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day will help promote pride in Native Americans’ contributions to the nation, and our global community. Such a celebration and recognition would allow Indigenous Peoples to be recognized for their vast contributions to society and bring us closer as a community. The success and compassion of future generations will rely on establishing a policy of truth that is predicated on the social conscience of people in positions of influence and power.
Establishing Indigenous Peoples’ Day will promote a more positive and truthful narrative concerning Indigenous Peoples. Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day acknowledges an often forgotten or ignored piece of our history, a past marked by too many broken promises, violence, and deprivation. It is a story that must be recognized as we seek to build a brighter future…side by side, with cooperation and mutual respect for one another.
When Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated, it validates the ideas of this nation's founding as a country born of change, a country born of revolution, and a country of “We the People.” This country is great, but it can be better. Recognizing our potential is how we reconcile with the past and enter the future with a stronger sense of American Identity.
"America is a constant work in progress, and loving this country requires us as citizens to speak up for what is right. It is my hope that we can put our differences aside and work together with cooperation and mutual respect for one another to make this nation one that truly aligns with democratic principles. Let us shape and embrace our nation as one people, all united under the same stars and stripes and work to create a stronger and more perfect union."