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Indigenous Peoples Day Resource Guide:
Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates and recognizes recognizes the original inhabitants of the Americas, their contributions, sacrifices, and the price that was paid for the creation of the United States, Canada, and the Nations of Central and South America. It honors the survival, the adaptations, and the innovations of Native peoples Identity, Presence, and Cultures; Past, Present, Future.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an international movement that began in 1977. A delegation of Native, nations from different parts of the Americas, to the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, held in Geneva, Switzerland, suggested that Columbus Day should be replaced by an Indigenous Peoples which passed that resolution. In July 1990, representatives from 120 Indian nations from across the Americas met in Quito, Ecuador in the First Continental Conference (Encuentro) on 500 Years of Indian Resistance. This was in preparation for the 500th anniversary of Native resistance to the European invasion of the Americas (1492-1992). The conference unanimously passed a resolution to transform Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992. The purpose of the day was to talk and teach about the historical truths of Columbus' voyage and the subsequent genocide, political upheavals, and environmental destruction, to organize against its continuation today, and to celebrate Indigenous resistance.
Berkeley, California became the first city in the United States to adopt Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992. Since then it has been celebrated on the second Monday of October in other major cities including Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, Anchorage, Alaska, Portland, Oregon, San Fernando, California, Durango, Colorado, Asheville, North Carolina, Seattle, Washington, and Lawrence, Kansas. Major universities including Brown University, Cornell University, Tufts University, and the University of Oklahoma, among others, have also adopted the holiday.
Indigenous Peoples' Day Articles
The following articles provide information on the origins of Indigenous Peoples Day and the various perspectives of the day, replacing Columbus Day, and how cities celebrate the day. These articles are good starting points for a classroom discussion. Have students think about how Indigenous Peoples' Day affects Native and non-Native communities, individuals, and tribal nations.
Berkeley Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration
Indigenous Peoples Day celebrated alongside Columbus Day in US.
International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
Columbus Day, or ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’?
Indigenous Peoples' Day will replace Columbus Day on Evanston's calendar
Why These Cities Are Dropping ‘Columbus Day’ For ‘Indigenous People’s Day’
Backlash over Indigenous People's Day prompts vote for Italian Heritage Day
The following are curriculum units that focus on alternative ways to teach about Columbus Day and incorporating Indigenous perspectives into U.S., Canadian, and Latin American history curriculum. The curriculums follow the mission of Indigenous Peoples Day and allows teachers to transform the often basic teaching of Columbus into a more comprehensive curriculum that can cover various subjects including history, social studies, geography, religious studies, and U.S. law and policy
Rethinking Columbus: A Thematic Guide.”
The People vs. Columbus, et al.
“The Indians’ Discovery of Columbus.” By Christine Elmore. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Contents of Curriculum Unit 92.02.01, 2016
“What Was Columbus Thinking?” National Endowment for the Humanities.
A People's History Of The United States
by Howard Zinn. Presented by History Is A Weapon.
This site has a free, online version of Howard Zinn's book A People's History of the United States. This is a good resource for students, teachers, and administrators to gain a critical perspective of U.S. history that includes the stories and perspectives of many underrepresented peoples in the United States including Native Americans, women, and African Americans. Zinn provides a more critical look at Columbus and his voyage's impact on the colonization of the Americas.
Perspectives of Teaching a Diverse America
Perspectives for a Diverse America is a literacy-based curriculum that marries anti-bias social justice content with the rigor of the Common Core State Standards.This web-based curriculum tool provides tools for developing curriculum units that incorporate anti-bias learning plans that promote diverse perspectives of history, build critical thinking skills, and literacy. The texts encourage students to question common understandings, consider multiple viewpoints, analyze and critique power relationships, and act to change unfair and unequal conditions. This is a good resource for developing your own Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day curriculum.
The following books are great starting points to understanding Native American History, Colonialism in the Americas and its long term effects, and an understanding of why many Native Peoples across the United States and beyond feel strongly about Indigenous Peoples Day and are moving to make it a national celebration.
Note: all books below are available at Amazon.com
Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years.
by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson. 1998
This revised edition offers an alternative narrative of the myth about the voyages of Christopher Columbus traditionally taught in schools. The hope is to encourage a deeper understanding of the European invasion's consequences, to honor the rich legacy of resistance to the injustices it created, to convey the appreciation for the diverse indigenous cultures of the hemisphere, and to reflect on what this all means for individuals today. The book features essays and interviews, poetry, analysis, and stories to present multiple perspectives on what the European exploration meant to the "New World." Following an introduction, the book is divided into nine chapters with essays, poems, newspaper articles, and a variety of materials for use in the classroom. The volume concludes with a resources section containing books for young readers and adults, curriculum materials, videos, websites, and organizations.
Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus: What Your History Books Got Wrong
by James W. Loewen, 2014
Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus disproves the myths about Columbus still enshrined in American textbooks with quotations from primary source material that sets the record straight. The poster and accompanying 48–page paperback book sum up the mistellings—and reveal the real story—in a graphically appealing and accessible format that shows the degree to which textbooks have “lied” by knowingly substituting crowd-pleasing myths for grim and gruesome historical evidence.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. 2015.
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America
by Thomas King, 2013
In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada–U.S. border, King debunks fabricated stories of Indian savagery and White heroism, takes an oblique look at Indians (and cowboys) in film and popular culture, wrestles with the history of Native American resistance and his own experiences as a Native rights activist, and articulates a profound, revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.
Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition
by Glen Sean Coulthard, 2014
In a work of critically engaged political theory, Glen Sean Coulthard challenges recognition as a method of organizing difference and identity in liberal politics, questioning the assumption that contemporary difference and past histories of destructive colonialism between the state and Indigenous peoples can be reconciled through a process of acknowledgment.
Why You Can't Teach United States History without American Indians
by Susan Sleeper-Smith (Editor), Juliana Barr (Editor), Jean M. O'Brien (Editor), Nancy Shoemaker (Editor), Scott Manning Stevens,
A resource for all who teach and study history, this book illuminates the unmistakable centrality of American Indian history to the full sweep of American history. The nineteen essays reflect the new directions in American history. More importantly, it demonstrates how Native American people, and questions of Native American sovereignty, have animated all the ways we consider the nation's past.
Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life
by David Treuer, 2013
With authoritative research and reportage, Treuer illuminates misunderstood contemporary issues like sovereignty, treaty rights, and natural-resource conservation. He traces the convoluted waves of public policy that have deracinated, disenfranchised, and exploited Native Americans, exposing the tension and conflict that has marked the historical relationship between the United States government and the Native American population.
Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands
by James F. Brooks, 2002
This book examines the origins and legacies of a flourishing captive exchange economy within and among native American and Euro-American communities throughout the Southwest Borderlands from the Spanish colonial era to the end of the nineteenth century. The slave trading system was an artifact of Spanish policies toward the Indigenous Peoples of New Spain, that began with Columbus and Cortez.
The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity
by Jill Lepore, 1999
King Philip's War, was one of the first racial wars in what would become the United States, happened in New England in 1675, was, in proportion to population, the bloodiest in American history. Lepore makes clear that it was after the war--and because of it--that the boundaries between cultures, hitherto blurred, turned into rigid ones. King Philip's War became one of the most written-about wars in our history, and Lepore argues that the words strengthened and hardened feelings that, in turn, strengthened and hardened the enmity between Indians and Anglos. She shows how, as late as the nineteenth century, memories of the war were instrumental in justifying Indian removals--and how in our own century that same war has inspired Indian attempts to preserve "Indianness" as fiercely as the early settlers once struggled to preserve their Englishness.
If you have any questions, ideas, or are interested in learning about more resources, please contact the Visitor's Service department at the Mitchell Museum.
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