Why do we wish each other a “Happy Indigenous People’s Day” while hardly ever hearing anyone say “Happy Christopher Columbus Day”?
What transpired in 1492 and the subsequent years was far from a cause for celebration. Changing the name from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day is an important step, but it doesn’t automatically right the wrongs of history. What’s needed is more than just a change of name; it’s a profound apology and the restoration of lands that were unjustly taken. History, after all, is often written by those in power, and the First Nations people undoubtedly have a vastly different perspective on American history.
Many of us, like me, have mixed blood. I can only speak for myself when I say: “Dear ancestors, I’m sorry for the injustices my European heritage inflicted upon you, all in the name of God, money, and progress. I apologize for the way we regarded you as lesser, as non-human beings.” I also carry the blood of the native and indigenous peoples of Peru. The genocide that occurred can never be forgotten. I am committed to honoring, dancing, singing, laughing, praying, and sharing our traditions with the world, with anyone eager to learn. Our way of life is not isolated; it’s interconnected. “All my relations” means exactly that – we are one human tribe, and it is imperative that we find a way to coexist in peace and harmony.
Gratitude to those who tirelessly advocate for change and the preservation of indigenous cultures. Together, let’s ensure that indigenous peoples worldwide are never overlooked.