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Today is the 30th anniversary of Indigenous Peoples Day

Monday is Indigenous Peoples Day. Here’s what the day commemorates

SHARE Today is the 30th anniversary of Indigenous Peoples Day
Joseph Runs Through does a grass dance at an Indigenous Peoples Day celebration outside the Salt Lake City Public Library.

Joseph Runs Through does a grass dance at an Indigenous Peoples Day celebration outside the Salt Lake City Public Library in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Monday is Indigenous Peoples Day, which is a holiday that commemorates and honors Indigenous people in the United States. The history of Indigenous Peoples Day began in 1992, making this the 30th year it has been celebrated.

Here is more information on the holiday.

When did Indigenous Peoples Day start?

According to National Geographic, one of the earliest known celebrations of Indigenous Peoples Day was in Berkeley, California, in 1992. National Geographic explains this holiday emerged as an alternative holiday to Columbus Day because “the holiday has since come under fire as a celebration of a man whose arrival in the Americas heralded the oppression of another group of people: Native Americans.”

Calls for this holiday began as early as the 1970s, according to The Oklahoman.

Last year, Salt Lake City officials adopted a joint resolution to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, saying that “the Salt Lake City Council and Mayor of Salt Lake City strongly support that Indigenous Peoples’ Day shall be an opportunity to celebrate the thriving cultures and values of the Indigenous peoples of our region.”

The White House also issued a proclamation in commemoration in 2021. According to USA Today, this was the first time that a U.S. president issued a proclamation about the holiday. USA Today reported, “Eleven U.S. states celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day or a holiday of a similar name via proclamation, while 10 others treat it as an official holiday.” Additionally, more than 100 cities celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.

Dustin Jansen, director for the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, told ABC 4 News last year that recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day was a “ginormous step” in the healing process. Jansen acknowledged that there’s significant work that still needs to be done while also seeing the celebration of this day as significant.

How to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day in Utah?

The Utah Education Network is hosting a collaborative, all-day event. Registration is free and the event goes on all day.

Here are other ways that you can commemorate Monday’s holiday:

  • Learn about the different tribal nations in your state. Make an effort to learn what land you live on and the unique heritage of that tribe. Utah Division of Indian Affairs has a map of the tribal nations in Utah.
  • Register and attend an online lecture about Indigenous history.
  • Read a book or other work written by an Indigenous author.
  • Find a business owned by an Indigenous person and make a purchase.
  • Commit to learning more about Indigenous peoples not just on Monday, but throughout your life.