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We all know the story: Christopher Columbus traveled from Spain in search of India and landed in the western hemisphere. Henceforth, this land would be called “The New World,” though it was hardly new. This new world was appropriated and stolen from Native American peoples. Today is commonly known as Columbus Day, a federal holiday. But in recent years, the narrative has been returned to our lands first inhabitants, and today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a way to combat historical inaccuracies brought along with colonization. Here are some ways to celebrate and honor Native American peoples on this powerful day:

1. Take Time to Educate Yourself on Indigenous Cultures

This website is a map that will show you what Indigenous groups lived where you currently reside. Take the time to acknowledge the land you’re on, and recognize that it was stolen far before your arrival.

You could also attend “Healing from Intergenerational Trauma,” a talk hosted by Elicia Goodsoldier and Cante’ Waste Win Zephir about healing work with Indigenous youth. Register here!

2. Support Native-Owned Shops

Spend some of your hard-earned cash at Native-Owned Shops! You may feel like purchasing some items is wrong because it’s not your culture, but as long as you are helping actual Indigenous artisans you’re in the clear. The problem with buying traditional Native items, such as dream catchers, is that usually these products are created by people who aren’t actually Native American. Support the appropriate group and true owners of certain cultural facets:

ATouchofNativeBeauty sells handmade Native American jewelry. Each piece is authentic and beautiful!

WhisperingWindsShop sells everything from jewelry to smudge kits. Please be advised that smudging, using sage to smoke cleanse, is a Native American practice. Unless you are taught how to do it by someone who actually has been handed down that practice, you are merely smoke cleansing.

HeyBelleBoutique offers jewelry and accessories, dream catchers, and pottery.

3. Donate to Indigenous Rights Organizations

There are many places to donate to, so feel free to do your own research! But here’s a very short list of some to choose from:

The American Indian College Fund supports Native American students who want to attend college and graduate school.

The Native American Rights Fund “provides legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide who have gone without adequate representation.”

There are many ways to honor this special day, but the entirety of today’s holiday is to disavow Columbus Day. Give the narrative back to those who it was stolen from centuries ago, and pave the way for those who have been left abandoned by our Eurocentric history. Educate yourself, legally support Native Americans when it comes time to, and support these Indigenous groups as much as you can without taking the narrative from them.

Hailey Wilcox is the Editor-in-Chief and one of the two Campus Correspondents of Her Campus at Furman University. She is a senior Educational Studies major, and hopes to pursue a Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis. Aside from Her Campus, she is President of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity. Her passions include self-care, helping her communities, and makeup!
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