Oct 9, 2023

Honoring Indigenous Peoples' Day With Dance Church

✨The Origins of Indigenous Peoples' Day

Indigenous Peoples' Day emerged as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day, which has traditionally been observed on the second Monday in October in the United States. The idea behind Indigenous Peoples' Day is to acknowledge and celebrate the rich cultures, histories, and contributions of Indigenous peoples in the Americas and to challenge the traditional narrative surrounding Christopher Columbus and his voyages.

✨ Columbus Day Controversy

Columbus Day was established as a federal holiday in the United States in 1937 to commemorate Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. However, over the years, the holiday has been criticized for several reasons:

  • Colonization and Exploitation: Columbus's arrival marked the beginning of European colonization in the Americas, leading to the displacement, suffering, and exploitation of Indigenous peoples.
  • Historical Inaccuracies: The notion that Columbus "discovered" America is historically inaccurate, as Indigenous peoples had inhabited the continent for thousands of years before his arrival.
  • Genocide and Cultural Erasure: Columbus's actions and the subsequent colonization resulted in the deaths of many Indigenous peoples and the suppression of their cultures.

✨ The Emergence of Indigenous Peoples' Day

In the late 20th century, Indigenous activists, scholars, and allies began advocating for a holiday that would honor the resilience and contributions of Indigenous peoples. The idea gained momentum in various cities and states across the United States. Berkeley, California, was among the first to officially replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day in 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus's arrival.

Since then, many other cities, states, and communities have followed suit, recognizing the need to shift the focus away from Columbus and toward the celebration and acknowledgment of Indigenous cultures. Indigenous Peoples' Day has gained widespread recognition as an alternative holiday, and it is now observed in place of or alongside Columbus Day in various parts of the United States.

The shift toward Indigenous Peoples' Day reflects a broader recognition of the importance of Indigenous voices and experiences, as well as a commitment to addressing historical injustices and promoting cultural understanding and reconciliation.

Today, Indigenous Peoples' Day serves as a platform for educating the public about the diverse cultures and histories of Indigenous peoples while promoting the values of respect, equity, and inclusion. It is a day to honor the past, celebrate the present, and work toward a more just and equitable future for all.

✨ Honoring Indigenous Peoples' Day with Dance Church

At Dance Church, we believe in celebrating diversity and acknowledging the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous Peoples' Day is an opportunity for us to come together as a community and honor the resilience, traditions, and contributions of Indigenous communities across the globe. 

→ Learn About Indigenous Cultures

We encourage all members of the Dance Church community to take the time to educate themselves about the histories, cultures, and challenges faced by Indigenous peoples. Through our dance sessions, we aim to promote cultural understanding and appreciation. Dance is a universal language that transcends borders, and it can serve as a bridge to connect people with the stories and traditions of Indigenous communities.

To find out what Indigenous land you are on, you can use the Native Land Digital website. This website provides an interactive map that allows you to discover the Indigenous territories, languages, and treaties in your area. 

Here's the website: Native Land Digital

Simply enter your location in the search bar or explore the map to learn more about the Indigenous history of the land you are on. This resource promotes awareness and respect for Indigenous peoples and their connection to the land.

  • Native American Heritage Association (NAHA): NAHA offers a wealth of information about Indigenous cultures, history, and current issues affecting Native American communities. They also have resources about specific tribes and their histories.
    Website: Native American Heritage Association
  • National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI): The NMAI, part of the Smithsonian Institution, provides a comprehensive online resource for learning about Indigenous history, art, and culture.
    Website: National Museum of the American Indian
  • American Indian College Fund: This organization provides information about the history of Native American education and scholarships for Native American students. Their website includes articles and resources on Indigenous culture and history.
    Website: American Indian College Fund
  • National Congress of American Indians (NCAI): NCAI's website offers information on tribal governance, policy issues, and resources related to Indigenous peoples in the United States.
    Website: National Congress of American Indians
  • Native Languages of the Americas: This resource provides information on Indigenous languages, including their histories, current status, and revitalization efforts.
    Website: Native Languages of the Americas
  • Tribal Nations Maps: The U.S. Department of the Interior provides maps and information about the tribal nations recognized in the United States.
    Website: Tribal Nations Maps

These websites offer valuable insights into Indigenous history and culture, and they can serve as excellent starting points for your research and exploration of Indigenous peoples' histories.

→ Support Indigenous Artists

Discover and support Indigenous artists, musicians, and dancers. Their creative expressions are a valuable part of our cultural tapestry. Dance Church is committed to showcasing the talents of Indigenous artists and providing a platform for their work. We invite you to participate in these celebrations and support Indigenous artists through your attendance and engagement.

  1. Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NAAC): NAAC is a national nonprofit that supports Native American artists and cultural organizations through grants, fellowships, and other programs.
  2. First Nations Development Institute (First Nations): First Nations provides financial and technical assistance to Native American tribes and organizations, including arts and cultural organizations.
  3. Redhawk Native American Art Council:** Redhawk is a nonprofit organization founded and maintained by Native American artists and educators dedicated to educating the general public about Native American heritage through song, dance, theater, fine art, and other cultural forms of expression. https://www.redhawkcouncil.org/
  4. Native Women in the Arts (NWIA): NWIA is a nonprofit organization that supports Native American women artists through programs and initiatives that promote their work and visibility.
  5. National Indian Arts and Crafts Association (NIACA): NIACA is a nonprofit organization that promotes the work of Native American artists and craftspeople through education, advocacy, and marketing.

→ Advocate for Indigenous Rights

Dance Church stands in solidarity with Indigenous communities and their ongoing struggles for justice, land sovereignty, environmental protection, and social equity. We encourage our community members to get involved in campaigns and initiatives that support Indigenous rights and amplify their voices.

Please take a moment to read through this list of issues currently faced by the Indigenous communities in the USA:

Poverty and unemployment: Indigenous people are more likely to live in poverty and be unemployed than the general population.

Health disparities: Indigenous people experience higher rates of chronic diseases, mental health problems, and violence than the general population.

Environmental injustice: Indigenous communities are disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and climate change.

Discrimination and racism: Indigenous people face discrimination and racism in all aspects of life, from employment to education to healthcare.

Loss of culture and language: Indigenous languages and cultures are disappearing at an alarming rate.

→ Share Your Learning

We invite you to share what you've learned and experienced with your friends, family, and social networks. By spreading awareness about Indigenous Peoples' Day and the importance of Indigenous cultures, we can collectively work toward a world that values and respects the diversity of human heritage.

At Dance Church, we believe that dance is not just about movement; it's a powerful form of cultural expression and connection. On this Indigenous Peoples' Day, let's dance with gratitude and respect for Indigenous communities, celebrating their enduring contributions to the world.

Remember, every step you take in honoring Indigenous Peoples' Day can make a meaningful difference. Together, we can create a world that recognizes and celebrates the vibrant cultures and histories of Indigenous peoples.

Join a class in cities across the country, no experience needed!