In 1934, the U.S. government established a new federal holiday by designating the second Tuesday of October “Columbus Day.” For some it served to recognize a significant moment in world history; for many it gave undue glory to a foreign invader who repaid the Native population’s initial hospitality with brutality.
In the decades since, there’s been a growing movement to reclaim the day and repurpose it to honor the original inhabitants who lived on this land long before Christopher Columbus ever set sail from Europe.
Berkeley, California, was the first city to declare that same second Tuesday a “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People” in 1992 as part of protests against plans for a “Quincentennial Jubilee” to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Caribbean. Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and others followed suit by establishing their own Indigenous Peoples’ Day to either replace or coincide with Columbus Day.
As of fall 2015, Albuquerque joined this small but growing group of cities by adopting a resolution that officially recognizes the second Tuesday of October as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, and with a Native population of about 55,000, it’s home to the highest concentration of Native people anywhere in the state.
While hundreds of people of all heritages showed their support by marching downtown on October 12, 2015, the Albuquerque City Council’s unanimous vote actually took place several weeks later on November 2. This means the upcoming 2016 celebration will be Albuquerque’s first official city-wide Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Here at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, we’re thrilled to mark the occasion by hosting the students of the Native American Community Academy for our own Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration on October 10!
It’s only fitting that the day’s festivities will feature youth front and center: we know that Indigenous people have a bright future ahead thanks to victories like this, which help us reexamine our history and retell it in our own voices.
Everyone is invited to join the students of the Native American Community Academy for music, dancing, and a range of cultural activities in our courtyard, so mark your calendars and we’ll see you soon!
Mon. October 10, 2016, 9 am – 5 pm
Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
2401 12th St NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104
Free with museum admission.