NEWS RELEASE: IA2 Recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Dave Baldridge

Washington, DC (October 12, 2020) — The International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA2) is pleased to recognize today as Indigenous Peoples’ Day and applauds the growing number of states, local governments, and District of Columbia for marking it an official holiday.

Columbus Day, found by the Pew Research Center in 1971 to be “the most inconsistently celebrated US holiday,” may be on its way to becoming history. Hawaii renamed the holiday “Discoverer’s Day—in honor of the state’s Polynesian founders—in 1971, and North Dakota changed it to “Native American Day” in 1990.

According to DOGO NEWS, “In 1977, a delegation of Native nations, attending the International Conference on Discrimination Against Native Populations, suggested renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  They believed the change would help honor the victims of American colonization. The motion passed by an overwhelming majority, but implementing the change has not been easy.

As noted by DOGO NEWS, “In 1992, Berkeley, CA, became the first city to rename Columbus Day, with Santa Cruz, CA, following in 1994. Since then, over 100 cities, states, and numerous universities nationwide have switched to the new name.”

Acknowledging the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is an important step in recognizing our nation’s indigenous peoples, including American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. Given the mission of IA2 we also call attention to the many contributions of our indigenous elders, who are crucial to preserving indigenous memory and culture.

Today, the International Association for Indigenous Aging honors and praises the states, cities and institutions joining in this movement to establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day as the national holiday in October. When Americans stand together, we all stand taller.