Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that many states have acknowledged along with or in place of Columbus Day.
President Biden first formally recognized the holiday in 2021, but states have taken different approaches to how to recognize the day.
The holiday serves as a day to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions Indigenous communities have made in America.
It is also a time to honor the history of Indigenous people and their resilience.
Below is everything you need to know about Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is recognized on the second Monday in October.
The day is celebrated on the same day as Columbus Day.
Columbus Day became a national holiday in 1937, and has been celebrated for decades since to celebrate Columbus, the Italian explorer, and his crew who came from Spain in 1492 and sighted what would become America.
In more recent years, Columbus Day has become a controversial holiday, and many states have elected to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is not technically a federal holiday, although the second Monday in October is a federal holiday due to Columbus Day.
This means that there is no mail delivery on the day, and banks will be closed. For the most part, most stores and other businesses will operate on the day.
Whether Columbus Day is celebrated as an official holiday or not depends on where you live and where you work.
In 2021, President Biden was the first president to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day formally.
“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” Biden wrote in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamation. “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.”
States have made their own decisions about the day, with some states completely dropping Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day, while others have decided to celebrate both.
The purpose of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is to recognize Indigenous people who have lived in America for thousands of years.
It is a day to “honor the perseverance and courage of Indigenous peoples, show our gratitude for the myriad contributions they have made to our world, and renew our commitment to respect Tribal sovereignty and self-determination,” the White House website states.
The day recognizes Native Americans’ history and culture.
On the day, there are often events, performances and ceremonies across the country to honor the occasion.