Online Originals: ECU celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

Online Originals

The second Monday in October celebrates and honors Native Americans, focusing on their history and culture.

ECU hosted its first-ever celebration of the holiday, complete with speakers, dancers, and food for visitors joining in on the event.

Native American dancers showcasing historic dances of the Haliwa-Sapomi tribe.

The nation’s capital has become one of the multiple places across the United States that have made the transition from celebrating Columbus Day to recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead.

While Columbus Day has been celebrated since 1937, people want to raise awareness of the destruction and violence that some historic explorers caused Indigenous people.

Signs reading “My Culture Is Not A Costume….” were outside of the event on a welcome table. Markers were also provided for visitors to write personal statements underneath.

Many Italian Americans still celebrate the Columbus holiday, as a way to remember and pay tribute to their Italian roots and contribution of the Italian lifestyle in America.

However, others don’t see it that way.

In New York City’s Central Park a person vandalized the Christopher Columbus statue in 2017 and was met with backlash from those who believe that ‘history is history, you can’t change what’s happened.’ There are still people who look at him as a discoverer and hero, while others a terrorist to a way of life.

Dr. Marty Richardson, a member of Haliwa-Saponi Tribe and the Project Manager for Haliwa-Saponi Historic Legacy Project, spoke at ECU’s Indigenous Peoples Day celebration.

Regardless, National Indigenous Peoples’ Day has been a topic of discussion since 1977, when it was proposed during a United Nations conference involving the discrimination against Indigenous people.

It took nearly 12 years for South Dakota to be the first state to switch from Christopher Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, as they celebrated it for the first time in 1990. Following the movement, Berkeley, California became the first U.S. city to celebrate the holiday in place of Columbus Day.

According to a New York Times article, six states and 130 cities and towns have made the decision to only recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, with hopes to continue expansion in the future.

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