Observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the Y

Indigenous Peoples Day

What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrates the resilience and success of Native and Indigenous communities and people that continue to work towards revitalizing their culture and communities after hundreds of years of systemic policies such as genocide, the reservation system, forced assimilation, boarding schools and more.

In 2021, the United States officially proclaimed the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Internationally, the idea had been floating around since 1977, when the concept was first introduced during a United Nations (U.N.) conference on discrimination. Additionally, the U.N. adopted International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (August 9) in 1994. Learn more about how this observance is being celebrated in 2023 here.

How do we observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

To honor the contributions and to stand in solidarity with Native and Indigenous communities, the Y encourages you to learn more about this important holiday from the people and communities themselves.

One such example is Deb Haaland, the first Native American Secretary of the Department of Interior. This pivotal role oversees the relationship between the United States and Tribal Communities and in this video, she explains what Indigenous Peoples’ Day means to her.

Additionally, we encourage learning more about the reconciliation initiatives within YMCA Canada – our friends at the YMCA Calgary shares this video on what Indigenous Peoples’ Day means to their First Nation citizens.

Lastly, the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires offers Global Indigenous Youth Summits, resources, videos and much more that are directly related to the work they do within Indigenous communities. Visit this page to discover great resources, volunteer opportunities and pledge your support for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

How do I continue to learn more about and support Native and Indigenous communities?

The Y encourages you and your family to continue to learn more about Native and Indigenous People in our community, from Native and Indigenous People themselves. Some great resources can be found below:

The Native Land Digital Map is a good starting point to discover the Native and Indigenous communities living in your local area.

Indian Country Today and Indianz.com are both news and media resources operated by Native and Indigenous Peoples.

Support Native and Indigenous communities by buying directly from them. Birchbark Books and Beyond Buckskin offer artisan-crafted items ranging from books to traditional basketry; from fashions to paintings. This site also has a full list of artisans, cooperatives, designers and more who are members of federally recognized tribes which sell authentic Native and Indigenous art and craftwork.



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