President Biden has proclaimed Monday, Oct. 11, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, becoming the first U.S. president to formally recognize the day. “For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” Mr. Biden wrote in the proclamation issued on Friday. “Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”
On the second Monday of October, Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes the Indigenous communities that have lived in the United States for thousands of years. It grew increasingly common as a replacement for Columbus Day, which is meant to celebrate the explorer who sailed with a crew from Spain in three ships, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, in 1492.
Supporters of the day say it may help bring attention to some of the ways Indigenous peoples have been discriminated against and are disproportionately affected by climate change, gender violence, and health issues, as well as to the Indigenous lands affected by mining, drilling, and industrial pollution on both public and private lands.