As we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we asked some of our staff at Native News Online and Tribal Business News to reflect on what the day means to them.

Darren Thompson  (Lac du Flambeau Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Indigenous Peoples Day is an awakening to the truths our people have advocated for decades. It’s an honest solution to correct a false narrative of white supremacy that dehumanizes the voices of Indigenous peoples that is supported by Tribes, organizations, educators, jurisdictions, and governments.

Kristen Lilya (Bois Forte Band of Chippewa)

Growing up, I was always confused about the Columbus Day “Holiday.” I had questions like: Why is there a holiday for such a bad man? If he did these things, why do people look up to him? As I grew older, conversations arose about the topic with roommates, bosses, and coworkers, and no one really understood how I felt about the day. Our country has come a long way in just my lifetime, and for that,  I feel proud to be a Native American in 2022.

Chez Oxendine (Lumbee Tribe)

Indigenous People’s Day reminds me both how far we’ve come as Native folks and how far we’ve left to go. I find myself grateful for a day that acknowledges and honors the Native people still here, while at the same time grimacing every time I see “Columbus Day” stubbornly emblazoned across a small town paper’s front page. 

Native people find themselves in the national spotlight on issues like farming and climate change, in many cases leading the charge — but in others, we are categorized as “other,” not considered important enough to merit our own data point. 

To me, Indigenous People’s Day is a start — it’s a good start and a day to acknowledge one another and be grateful for our successes — but it’s just a start. The work of reminding the world we’re still here remains important all year-'round.

Monica Whitepigeon (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation)

We've entered into an exceptional era where we as Native people are utilizing various platforms to share and interpret our own stories. With that said, there is still a long way to go. We're witnessing the country going through this generations' growing pains. Social justice movements continue to increase, and equitable media coverage has potential to build awareness and instigate change. Many Indigenous stories, however, are still suppressed and misrepresented by non-Native news outlets. These outlets treat Native current events as an afterthought or are completely tone deaf to the necessity including our histories and experiences. America's narrative regarding Native peoples needs to change.  

At times, it feels like a never-ending cycle of injustice, but hope is hard to kill. People from many tribal nations are showing resistance to assimilation and working towards healing from the effects of our traumatic histories. Through the arts, Indigenous writers and artists are calling out racism and amplifying the diverse narratives of our numerous cultures. The weight of this burden cannot be put solely on Indigenous folks, non-Natives need to be educated, accurate representation, and willingness to be mindful of their blindspots.

Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) 

As people around this country celebrate the lost sailor, I’m not going to let it ruin my day. Instead, I’m going to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day with a smile because of the survival skills of our ancestors and the fact that we, the Indigenous peoples of this land, still remain.

More Stories Like This

House Passes Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Deal; How Native American Members of Congress Voted
History Made as First Navajo Appointed U.S. Federal Judge in California
California Bill Aims to Increase State Funding for Tribal Housing
Navajo Nation Leaders Recognized the Fallen on Memorial Day
This Day in History — May 28, 1830, Andrew Jackson Signs Indian Removal Act

Native News is free to read.

We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps.  Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].