As a kid in Trinidad, the first time I heard the idea of Columbus “discovering” the Americas challenged was by my Caribbean History teacher Askia Amon Rah! Decades later, I will come to appreciate the magnitude and the significance of what he was trying to teach us!
Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that honours and memorializes the shared history and experience of American Indigenous Peoples on the second Monday in October. This day is part of a campaign to communicate a more full and accurate version of American history, both highlighting the history and participation of Native peoples and bringing awareness to the true facts of the exploration of America.
Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937, in part because of efforts by Roman Catholic Italian Americans who lobbied to memorialize Christopher Columbus in American history. Unfortunately, this effort, when combined with prevailing attitudes of the 20th century, contributed to an inexact and incomplete account of American history, until the recent efforts around recognizing the Native Peoples have been bringing more awareness.
To learn more and get involved:
- Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). The NMAI cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives, and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego.
- Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Devoted to the scientific, cultural, social, technological, and political development of the United States, the museum traces the American experience from colonial times to the present.