Presentation by Larry Spotted Crow Mann of the Nipmuc Nation
When the Land Speaks: An Untold History of Massachusetts & the Importance of Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day
Key Messages for Indigenous Peoples Day
Indigenous people have been calling for Indigenous Peoples Day for decades. Formally recognized by the UN Geneva Conference Declaration of 1977, Indigenous Peoples Day is already celebrated in lieu of Columbus Day in 14 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 cities, including 14 communities in Massachusetts.
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day begins to remedy the harmful effects of racist U.S. policies and distorted histories that normalize genocide, removal, erasure and negative stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples while glorifying colonization, westward expansion, and white supremacy.
We cannot celebrate both Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day. Columbus brought a culture of domination, exploitation, violence, and greed that resulted in genocide, oppression, and destruction of Indigenous cultures and ecosystems. Celebrating Columbus is an affront to Indigenous people and to all people who abhor what he represents.
Changing to Indigenous Peoples Day is not anti-Italian; it is an antiracist stand against the genocidal legacy of Columbus. Many Italian Americans stand in solidarity with Indigenous people and support this change.
Indigenous Peoples Day acknowledges the ongoing presence of the Original Peoples of Turtle Island–this land we now call North America–as well as Indigenous communities around the world.
In this time of existential ecological crisis, Indigenous people provide much needed wisdom on how we can live sustainably in balanced relation with each other and the land. Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates and centers Indigenous voices, sciences, cultures, and ways of life.