Indigenous Peoples Day honors Native Americans

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) — On Monday, your calendar might say it’s Columbus Day, but some state and local governments recognize that day as Indigenous Peoples Day.

Back in history class for many, students learned that Christopher Columbus was credited with discovering America. Now, in recent years, there is more recognition of the people who were here first, acknowledging that Native history is American history.

For the second time in the country’s history, the President of the United States issued a proclamation for Indigenous Peoples Day saying “we honor the sovereignty, resilience, and immense contributions that Native Americans have made to the world.”

But it’s not just here in the United States, Ned Rinalducci, a sociology professor at Georgia Southern, says this change is happening all over the world. “We are in 2022 now and we look at history with clearer eyes and we can see that the legacy of Christopher Columbus and the things that Christopher Columbus brought to the new world, slavery, oppression, disease …so Indigenous Peoples Day has become sort of a way to make it all right. it was wrong to celebrate someone and an event that caused so much suffering for Indigenous people,” Rinalducci said.

He says when talking with your kids about the day, you can always start with the story of Christopher Columbus, but also introduce them to the history of Indigenous peoples and why we recognize them today.

Columbus Day is still recognized as the federal holiday, but here in Georgia more and more cities are recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day, including the city of Savannah.

Nohemi M. Moore