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How Washingtonians Can Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day 2022


“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” is the catchy rhyme most American students learn alongside the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus. He is often credited with “discovering America”, and as a result, the US has recognized Columbus Day since 1792 with it officially becoming a federal holiday in 1937. However, Washington state does not recognize Columbus Day and in 2014 the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to change “Columbus Day” to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, to be celebrated the second Monday in October.So why the change?

Well, it turns out that the holiday is based on a few historical inaccuracies. As evidenced by the now-designated UNESCO National Historic Site, L’Anse aux Meadows, Columbus was not the first European to “discover America”. Located at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland, the remains of an 11th-century Viking settlement were discovered, placing the Norse explorer Lief Erikson in North America several hundred years before Columbus. Secondly, Columbus never actually set foot in any part of North America, but rather several Caribbean Islands and later Central and South America. And thirdly, the prevailing narrative of “discovering the Americas” is moot; neither Columbus or Erikson “discovered” America, because Indigenous Peoples had lived here for tens of thousands of years before either of them set sail.

More importantly, Columbus was a violent tyrant who brought slavery, torture, and rape to every part of the “New World” he touched. His gruesome dark side was well-documented by his contemporaries. Celebrating Columbus and other explorers like him dismisses the devastating losses experienced by Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere in the past and the ongoing effects of colonialism today. Indigenous Peoples’ Day advocates say the recognition helps correct a “whitewashed” and harmful narrative of American history that has glorified Europeans like Italian explorer Columbus.

Indigenous Peoples are still here. Recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day honors renewal, resilience, the rich diversity of Native cultures, their enduring persistence and innumerable valuable contributions to our society—its a day all Americans can truly celebrate.

Celebrate in Community

Cultural Sharing & Salmon Dinner hosted by the United Indians of All Tribes
Oct 10 @ 4 pm · Daybreak Star Cultural Center · Discovery Park, Seattle
UIAF Instagram Page

Attend a Production of: According to Coyote
Oct 10 & 16 · multiple showtimes
A vibrant and entertaining family-friendly anthology of tales featuring the legendary hero, According to Coyote is an encounter with the richness and vitality of Native American culture using age-old traditions of music, dance, and theater

See the Play: Where We Belong
Now – Oct 9 · multiple showtimes
An intimate and exhilarating solo piece that echoes a journey to England braved by Native ancestors in the 1700s and forces us to consider what it means to belong in an increasingly globalized world

Harvest Fest – Traditonal Skills, Food & Tech Sharing
Oct 22 · 2:30 – 4:30 pm · Poulsbo Youth + Fitness Center
Suquamish Tribe Event Page

Indigenous Matrix: NW Women Printmakers
Now – Dec 11 · Seattle Art Museum
Outside of Inuit communities, NW Coast printmaking has been largely dominated by men; this installation brings to light the unique contributions of several women whose imagery divulges personal experiences, complex mythologies, and unfettered expression, pushing styles and subjects into new directions that inspire
Seattle Art Museum

Visit the Northwest Native Art Gallery
Rotating + Permanent Installations · Burke Museum, Seattle
Burke Museum

WSU: Native American Programs Events
Oct 10 – 14 · Pullman and Vancouver Campuses + Online
WSU Events

Read, Listen & Learn

Youth in Action Webinar: Transformative Teaching
Oct 10 · 10 – 11 am · Online, hosted by the Smithsonian
How is teaching a form of activism? This Indigenous Peoples’ Day program highlights Native youth who are incorporating Indigenous voices in K–12 education and promoting inclusive conversations in our nation’s classrooms.
Register Here

Native Knowledge 360°
An incredible collection of interactive online lessons; especially be sure to check out ‘Why Do the Foods We Eat Matter’ and ‘The Fish Wars’
National Museum of the American Indian Website

Podcast: All My Relations
To be an Indigenous person is to be engaged in relationships—to land and place, to a people, to non-human relatives, and to one another. All My Relations is a place to explore those relationships, and think through Indigeneity in all its complexities
Listen Here

NPR Podcast: Code Switch
Hosted by journalists of color, this podcast tackles the subject of race with empathy and humor, exploring how race affects every part of society. This podcast makes all of us part of the conversation — because we’re all part of the story.

The ‘Playing Pretendian’ episode tackles the all-too-common issue of folks lying about being Native American and how this hurts real Indigenous People and communities.

Acknowledge Whose Land You Are On

Washington Tribes Public Education Program
Washington state is home to 29 federally recognized Indian tribes, each with their own sovereign tribal governments making investments and charitable contributions to improve people’s lives, Indian and non-Indian alike

Understand Treaty Rights
In the 1850s, many tribes in Washington signed treaties ceding their lands in exchange for fishing rights. Today, with salmon on the brink of extinction, those treaties are fated to become meaningless… unless we act. Learn more about this history, where we currently stand, and CELP’s work to respect and support Tribal sovereignty, co-management responsibilities, authorities, and rights, to share a healthy, productive environment for all
CELP’s Tribal Treaty Rights Education Page

Watch the New Netflix Show ‘Spirit Rangers’
The new animated preschool series premiering on Monday 10/10 was created and penned by an all-Native group of writers, including Cowlitz tribe member and WSUV graduate, Joey Clift.
Read this article in The Columbian to learn more


Off the Rez
Seattle’s first Native food truck; check their website to see where they’re headed next to serve up their delicious homemade frybread

Eighth Generation
Seattle-based art and lifestyle brand that partners with Native artists around the country to reclaim control over the market for products featuring Native art and the stories that go with them

Washington State Native Plant Society
Sign up for the newsletter, follow their gardening guides, attend a workshop and/or join a local chapter—whatever you do will honor the original and rightful stewards of this land and water by doing your part to support our local ecosystems

Seek out and Support Native Authors, Musicians, Poets, Actors…
Celebrate the rich diversity of contemporary creatives within the Indigenous community here in the PNW, across the country, and world
Seattle Public Library Reading List

Campaign launched by the Snoqualmie Tribe’s Ancestral Lands Movement calling on the public to go beyond recitation of land acknowledgment to actually practicing it, while also ensuring our beloved lands endure for future generations

  1. Respect the Land: pick up and properly dispose of waste, stay on trail, take nothing but photos, don’t harass wildlife
  2. Center in Mindfulness: thoughtfully engage with your surroundings instead of focusing on conquest or only collecting ‘accomplishments’
  3. Learn More: about the Snoqualmie Tribe’s history, culture and traditions, deep connection to the land, and ongoing stewardship
  4. Acknowledge: whose land you are recreating on and respect tribal sovereignty
  5. Encourage Others: lead by example and spread the message

Also check out this amazing story map highlighting the recreational impacts on the Snoqualmie Tribe’s ancestral lands

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