Indigenous People’s Day Is Needed

Happy Indigenous People’s Day!

For the past number of years the momentum of people advocating for Columbus Day in the United States to be changed to Indigenous People’s Day has continued to grow.

I do believe that an Indigenous People’s Day is needed in the United States because, unfortunately, Native Americans are still victims of institutional racism and this affects them in the workforce, access to resources and many other sectors. Here is just a minor picture of what Native Americans face:

-Native American men and women experience more violence than the national average (National Institute of Justice)

-Native Americans die at a higher rate from alcoholism, diabetes and suicide than the national average (National Congress of American Indians)

-1 in 4 Native Americans live below the federal poverty line (Kairos Center)

-Other studies show that Native Americans (especially Native American women) go missing and unreported more than the national average; have less access to mental health resources and have a higher unemployment rate.

A day focusing on Indigenous People is needed to highlight these communities, their history and the struggle that they STILL face today. Many people are unaware of what these communities experience and that includes me. I was not aware, for example, of the high rate of missing indigenous women and the limited access to mental health resources until a couple of years ago.

Ramaytush Ohlone Tribe

Thanks to the Exploratorium, a museum in San Francisco that I follow on social media, I learned that Silicon Valley is the home of the Ramaytush Ohlone tribe. For Indigenous People’s Day I decided to educate myself on the tribe’s history. To do this I explored the Ramaytush Ohlone website and learned that this tribe is the only original people of the San Francisco Peninsula. I think everyone should explore what tribal land they live on and learn more. What tribal territory do you live on?

As mentioned before, it has only been in the last couple of years that I have become more aware of the issues that Native Americans face. I have highlighted two resources below that helped open my eyes:

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. This book focuses on a number of mysterious deaths within the Osage tribe at the beginning of the 20th century. Though it from a different time, to me, the book is a reminder that Native Americans have been exploited since the beginning. In this case they were exploited when oil was found on their land. 

Missing & Murdered podcast. I’m obsessed with true crime podcast and the Missing & Murdered podcast is a good one. This podcast focuses on missing and murder indigenous women in Canada. Not only does the podcast follow a case, it also highlights the history of indigenous people in Canada and their “relationship” with the government. It paints a sad picture but this history needs to be shared.

I hope one day that indigenous people’s history will be celebrated just like other holidays and cultures.

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