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Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Why It Matters

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ODU chapter.


Source: Giphy

Today has been officially marked in history as Christopher Columbus Day but over the past few years and thanks to the movement of being woke, we’ve realized everything they told us about him in grade school was a big fat lie!

If you’re still on the fence about that check out this video from AdamRuinsEverything where he does a pretty good job breaking the truth down for us. Whether you agree or not, it’s hard to deny the fact that indigenous people deserve a day of their own to be celebrated.

Native Americans have suffered since the moment Europeans set foot into this country. Starting in 1500’s when European travelers brought diseases such as the bubonic plague, chicken pox, influenza, measles, scarlet fever, smallpox, typhus, tuberculosis, and whooping cough. To current day, when they are tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets for peacefully protesting to protect their sacred land.

Not only are natives attacked for peaceful protest, they’re attacked for being native. While #BlackLivesMatter and the killing of innocent black men have taken the world by storm since the death of Trayvon Martin, no one is talking about the alarming rates at which natives are being murdered by police.

In an opinion article for CNN, commentator Simon Moya-Smith said, “Native Americans make up about 0.8% of the population, yet account for 1.9% of police killings.”

Clearly, those numbers don’t add up but because the native population in this country is so small there’s not a big enough platform to discuss these issues or bring them to the forefront of news media. But the bottom line is, this is unjust. Just as we march we march for Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and the countless others who were senselessly murdered, we need to march for natives.

While the fact that several states are beginning to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day is amazing and a step in the right direction, there’s still a long way to go. One day to celebrate the lives of native people is nothing compared the natives that have died and are still dying due to police brutality and poverty on reservations.

I salute the states that are taking a step forward to recognize native communities in this country and I salute those fighting to make it a national holiday but there is so much work needed to change the everyday lives of native people in the United States. Most tribes have websites so start by googling tribes near you to find out how you can help. Also, you can donate to the Native American Heritage Association to provide food to tribes across the country. 

Source: Giphy

Hi everyone, I'm Petra (PEE-truh) and I'm an ODU alumna who has branched out to sunny Southern California. Following graduation, I didn't have too much of a plan for where I was going in life but I knew to stay in Virginia was not an option. I wanted more than what was offered there so I started applying to almost every job in all my dream cities and life led me to San Diego. I now do sales, marketing and social media management for a great startup company, Voterfied. I love everything about San Diego and the work I'm doing here. So my advice to everyone, get out of your comfort zone! Take that leap of faith and let life guide you to exactly where you're meant to be. HCXO, Petra!