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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

Depending on what state you live in, this Monday, October 9th, 2023, may be recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Columbus Day, or nothing at all if you live here in Florida. However, whether it is recognized on a state level or not, it’s important to understand the history behind these holidays and learn how to support our indigenous communities.

What is Columbus Day?

Chances are, you grew up in a state that celebrated Columbus Day, learning about Christopher Columbus’s journey to America in 1492, with speeches on how he opened the way for many of our ancestors to journey to the new world and settle, bringing us to where we live today. Unfortunately, lots of the things we learned in school aren’t completely true, or at least omit many of the gory details about Columbus’s practices when he got here.

The Switch to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

You may have been taught that Columbus “discovered” America; however, Indigenous Communities had been living in North America for tens of thousands of years before Columbus arrived. Instead of learning from the over 10 million Indigenous people living here, the rapidly growing colonies set forth by Columbus’s arrival exploited the Indigenous communities, subjecting them to warfare, forced relocation, enslavement, new diseases, and even forced marriages to dilute Indigenous cultures. By some estimates, within the next 130 years after Columbus’s first contact, over 95% of the Native American population was gone. 

How Can We Support Indigenous Communities Now?

These issues aren’t only a thing of the past. Many communities and schools leave out native perspectives in our curriculum, teaching a sugar-coated version of history that completely mitigates the suffering of indigenous communities at the hands of European colonizers like Columbus. One of the best things we can do to help support our native communities includes empowering their voices and not letting anyone be shut out, or the truth of our history be erased. This can include sharing resources on social media and with family. Some other ways to show your support include supporting local indigenous businesses, reading works by indigenous authors, and supporting organizations advocating for indigenous groups. 

Florida Events to Show Your SuppoRt

  1. 15th Annual Native Rhythms FestivalNov 10th-Nov 12th, 2023 – Melbourne Fl

Support local native musicians, dancers, and artists in this spectacular showcase of indigenous talent. This event has completely free admission; go to show your support!

  1. Pinellas Point Park- St. Petersbrurg

As the ancestral home of the Tocobaga, Calusa, Miccosukee, and Seminole tribes, Pinellas County is a fantastic park to go to this upcoming holiday. With over 1,000 native plants throughout the park, the beauty of their communities still shines through. 

  1. Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Day- November 18th – Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

With presenters from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, this is a fantastic event to learn about the captivating history of Volusia County’s Indigenous communities.

  1. Pine Island Ridge Trail- Broward County

As the ancestral home of the Tequesta and Seminole tribes, this is a fantastic hike to take this holiday season. This was also the site of the Battle of Pine Island Ridge in the Second Seminole War in 1838, a turning point in the war for the U.S. 

Victoria Burghardt is an editor for Her Campus's Tampa Chapter. Her articles cover many topics but frequently reflect her passions such as scuba diving and all things nature. She is studying Marine Science/Biology with minors in Mathematics and Psychology at the University of Tampa. When not in class, Tori can often be found diving. She is currently finishing her Divemaster program and works for Adventure Outfitters, a dive shop in South Tampa. She is also a volunteer for the Florida Aquarium at their conservation campus in Apollo Beach, FL where she cares for coral nurseries. Tori is passionate about all things outdoors, especially if they have to do with the water. She loves learning everything she can about marine life and their unique habits and behaviors. One of her favorite parts about diving is watching reef organisms interact with each other. Outside of science, Tori was a competitive baton twirler in Pennsylvania, her favorite performances were twirling fire in Halloween parades back home, her absolute favorite time of year. She loves a good night in watching horror movies and other films with her friends.