Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Wilma Mankiller Quote

Today, we are honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States. The Little Market is committed to using our platform to advocate for the most vulnerable, underrepresented communities and to raise awareness about human rights and social justice issues, including access, equity, and inclusion. Keep reading to learn more about this monumental day.

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we celebrate and honor Native American peoples and cultures in the United States. We reflect on their histories and the ongoing struggle for their land rights and inclusion into all spheres of society. The National Conference of State Legislatures cites 574 federally recognized tribal nations and Alaska Native villages.1

Here is a brief chronology of the origins of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

1977 – Replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day was first proposed at a U.N.-sponsored conference in Geneva focused on the discrimination against indigenous populations in the Americas. The idea became a movement to reclaim the meaning of Oct. 12 and bring to focus transatlantic colonization and its lasting impact on Native American communities.2

1989 –  After over a decade of advocacy in the United States, South Dakota became the first state to switch Columbus Day to Native Americans’ Day.

1992 – Berkeley became the first official city in the United States to celebrate the holiday.3

2019 As a result of the movement’s momentum, 53 U.S. cities observed Indigenous Peoples’ Day.4

As of 2020, Alaska, Minnesota, Vermont, Oregon, Nevada, Maine, New Mexico, and Louisiana celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Each year, the number of cities, states, and organizations that recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day grows.

Recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a positive step toward building a more inclusive and just society. However, in the United States, these communities continue to have disproportionately negative health, educational, and social outcomes:

  • The Indian Health Service reports a lower life expectancy for these communities by as much as 5.5 years compared to other races.5
  • For American Indian and Alaska Native youth, the rate of suicide is 2.5 times higher than the rest of the country. This constitutes the highest youth suicide rate among all other races and ethnicities in the country.6
  • Assault and homicide rates among American Indians and Alaska Native is double the national rate among all races — 11.4% compared to 5.4%.7
  • American Indian and Alaska Native communities have some of the highest rates of poverty — 26.8%, almost double the national level.8
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives’ attendance to post-secondary institutions is disproportionately low compared to the rest of the U.S. population — 17% compared to 60%.9

At The Little Market, we believe that education is a first step to create change. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a celebration of the myriad of cultural and historical contributions by Native and Indigenous peoples in the United States. We invite you to join us in learning about American Indian, First Nations, and Native communities and recognize and celebrate them every day. We rounded up a list of activists, authors, and leaders to help increase the collective awareness about these communities. 

In addition, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, observed annually on August 9th, recognizes the many contributions made by indigenous communities around the world. To learn more about this global observance, please visit this post

How We Can Make an Impact

We are always looking to expand our reach and support dignified income opportunities for diverse communities. We have been seeking out U.S.-based groups working with people who identify as indigenous including American Indian, First Nations, and Native American people. 

If you have a group in mind that would be a great fit, please let us know: email or contact us via social @thelittlemarket.

National Congress of American Indians. Web.
“List of Federal and State Recognized Tribes”. National Conference of State Legislators. NCSL. Web. Accessed Oct. 9, 2020.
Lowery, Malinda Maynor. “The Native History of Indigenous Peoples Day.” Yes! Magazine. Web. Oct. 9, 2020. Accessed Oct. 9, 2020.
Camhi, Tiffany. “How Berkeley Became the First City to Ditch Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day.” Web. Oct. 9, 2017. Accessed Oct. 9, 2020.
Kasana, Mehreen. “These Are All The Cities & States That Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” Sept. 19, 2019. Accessed Oct. 9, 2020. Web.
“Disparities.” Indian Health Service. The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Accessed Oct. 9, 2020. Web.
“American Indian Suicide Rate Increases.” National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. Sept. 9, 2019. Accessed Oct. 9, 2020. Web.
“Disparities.” Indian Health Service. The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Accessed Oct. 9, 2020. Web.
U.S. Census Bureau, Table B17001C and B17001: Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months by Sex by Age, 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate, 2017. Accessed Oct. 9, 2020.
9“Factsheets. Native American Students. Native American Students in Higher Education.” Postsecondary National Policy Institute. PNPI. Oct. 26, 2019. Accessed Oct. 9, 2020. Web.

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