Indigenous Peoples’ Day, A Day of Enlightenment

12 Oct Indigenous Peoples’ Day, A Day of Enlightenment

Indigenous People’s Day, October 12, 2020, brings to light a suppressed history and exposes historical injustice. At its core, recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day pushes back against the Columbus narrative, representing centuries of manipulated history, genocide, rape, land theft, exploitation, and deliberate erasure of a rich Native American past. Yet only a handful of states and few cities across the country have rightfully replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day after decades of protest, persistence, and teaching by the indigenous communities. 

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is important because it is about visibility. It stops adding to injury by celebrating a colonizer that brought much suffering to the Americas’ indigenous people. It denounces the falsehood of white supremacy, the American education system’s deliberate misguidance, the creation of ignorance, and fomentation of hate. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a symbol of the truth that promotes awareness. 

There has always been a relationship between Native Americans in the United States and those south of the border. A powerful video, “Uto-Aztecan Language Family,” demonstrates that connectedness. It is about a Language Family that is pre-Colombian and spoken in the United States, México, and Central America by different Native American tribes. They show people across those regions speaking in their regional language, which existed before Columbus sailed his boats, let alone the establishment of the modern-day countries within those lands. It includes Comanche, Shoshone, Chemehuevi, Kawaiisu, South Paiute (Ute), Northern Paiute, Cahuilla, Serrano, Hopi, Tubatulabal, Nahuatl, Pipil (Nawat), Guarijio, Mayo (Yoreme), Tarahumara, Yaqui (Yoeme), Pima Bajo, Tepehuan, O’odham, Cora, Huichol (Wixarika). The video presents notable people that are part of the Uto-Aztecan Language Family, such as Sacagawea from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Wovoka, also called Jack Wilson, Quanah Parker, and Washakie, to name a few.

Depending on where Native Americans were shuffled, some were able to maintain their ancestors’ language; some lost their languages to English and Spanish. Some even lost their language to the Spanish language within the territories of the current-day United States. Loving America should mean embracing its people. That is what Indigenous Peoples’ Day is all about. It is a reckoning, enlightenment, and resisting false narratives taught as truth so that we might genuinely heal and make amends. Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day by telling or learning about the Native American people throughout Los Angeles, California, or America Knowledge is power, share it! 

Who are the original people of Los Angeles?

There are currently four different names used for the original native people of Los Angeles who have resided in the area for thousands of years: Gabrieleño, Gabrielino, Tongva, and Kizh.

What is the largest Native American group currently living in California?

The Yurok Tribe is currently the largest group of Native Americans in the state of California, with 6357 enrolled members.

 “Is Michigan & Michoacán related?

 It talks about two words. “Michigan,” a term given as a name to a state of the USA (the way the French could pronounce it). The second, “Michoacán,” a word given as a name to a state in Mexico (the way the Spanish could pronounce it). The video does a great job of explaining that Michigan translates to “great body of water,” and Michoacán translates into “land of many fisherman.” The narrator explains that they are both words of an indigenous language with the root word of “mich” which overall have in common “the meaning of water.”

See who’s taken steps to promote Native cultural awareness.

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