Sokaogon Chippewa Community News
Indigenous People’s Day
Posted on: October 8, 2020
In 1977, the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, began to discuss replacing Columbus Day in the U.S. with a celebration to be known as Indigenous People’s Day.
Similarly, Native American groups staged a sort of protest in Boston instead of Thanksgiving, which has been celebrated there to mark collaboration between Massachusetts colonists and Native Americans in the first years. In July 1990, at the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, representatives of indigenous people throughout the Americas agreed that they would mark 1992, the 500th anniversary of the first of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, as a year to promote “continental unity” and “liberation”.
After the conference, attendees from Northern California organized protests against the “Quincentennial Jubilee” that had been organized by the U.S. Congress for the San Francisco Bay area on Columbus Day in 1992. It was to include replicas of Columbus’s ships sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and reenacting their “discovery” of America. The delegates formed the Bay Area Indian Alliance and, in turn, the “Resistance 500” task force. It promoted the idea that Columbus’s “discovery” of inhabited lands and subsequent European colonization of these areas had resulted in the genocide of indigenous peoples by decisions of colonial and national governments.
In 1992, the group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12th as a “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People” and 1992 as the “Year of Indigenous People”.
In the years following Berkeley’s action, other local governments and institutions have either renamed or canceled Columbus Day, either to celebrate Native American history and cultures, to avoid celebrating Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas, or due to raised controversy over the legacy of Columbus.
In October 2019, Governor Evers signed Executive Order #50 and declared the second Monday in October to be Indigenous People’s Day in Wisconsin to “recognize the immense importance of the Native Nations to this state, and reaffirm the significance of Native Nations’ sovereignty, culture, and history.”
Executive Order #50 also states to, “Recommit to the state’s efforts to promote the well-being and growth of Wisconsin’s Native American communities.”
Tribal offices and the SCC Health Clinic will be closed in observance of Indigenous People’s Day.