Indigenous Peoples Day 2022
Today, and every day, we honor, remember and celebrate Indigenous Peoples. In her 2015 book, Indigenous Peoples History of the United States, author Dr. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz details the detrimental history and celebration of Columbus "despite Columbus never having set foot on any territory ever claimed by the United States." Research notes that since 1977, Indigenous communities have sought to eradicate Columbus Day. Still, it was not a proclamation to change the landscape and narrative of the United States Federal holiday until last year. Yes, 2021. If you care, consider reading the 2020 Proclamation for Columbus Day. In her banned book, Dr. Dunbar-Ortiz outlines Indigenous peoples' historical realities, from missing women and girls, land reclamation, sovereignty, climate justice, derogatory name use (hello Washington Football Team), and wildfire protections, which are often gas-lighted.
Columbus Day is still a federal holiday despite Columbus never having set foot on any territory ever claimed by the United States. - Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2015)
In his 1963 book, "Why We Can't Wait," Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. linked the construction of global imperialism and its impacts on communities of color. More specifically, concerning the Indigenous communities, he stated, "Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations."
The United States has released a Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples' Day. Yet, manifesting authentic acknowledgment, awareness, change, inclusion, and healing can be complicated for people, especially regarding untying the strong knots of imperialism. When dissecting the ingrained celebration of Columbus and the buildings and places his name symbolizes, such as a District, formally a territory, or University, visible remnants of oppression remain. Columbia University cites the name "Columbia—embodied the patriotic fervor that had inspired the nation's quest for independence."
We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Investing in intentional learning and development to understand the first peoples and their invaluable contributions to the United States of America, known as Turtle Island, is needed. Not just today but again, every day. As we near Native American Heritage Month in November, this is a perfect time for companies, educational institutions, leaders, and cities to examine and reflect on the conscious presence of Indigenous peoples within our communities. And as businesses reflect on ways to act, I encourage them to consider leveraging the 12 Functions of Human Resources to enhance the communal environments for Indigenous and non-Indigenous counterparts. Explore Indigenous individuals who are making an impact. Do not limit yourself to stereotypical ways to understand and celebrate; instead, honor. Act with active empathy to support the uplift and healing of vastly unique Indigenous communities while expanding your knowledge of systemic issues that impact America.
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External Human Resources
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We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. – Dakota Wisdom
In what ways can Indigenous Peoples Day (October 10) and Month (November) be respectfully celebrated by businesses?