Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations take place in October. For the past few years, hundreds of community members have participated in celebration activities including dances, poetry, teach-ins, film screenings and performances to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.
Indigenous Peoples Day is part of a national effort to recognize and honor the existence, culture and contributions of the original inhabitants of North America on the day that has been observed as Columbus Day since 1934.
Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations have been adopted by cities and states across the United States. As of 2020, 14 states and more than 130 cities celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead of or in addition to Columbus Day.
Locally, the City of Denver passed a one-year proclamation in 2015 replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day; this designation was made permanent the following year.
In a 2016 report prepared by the Governor of Colorado’s Commission to Study American Indian Representation in Public Schools, commission Chair Clement Frost of the Southern Ute Tribe called for the state to “recognize the role of American Indians in Colorado’s history and to ensure that this history is taught comprehensively and accurately.” 1 At both a national and regional level, it is important to realign the public’s knowledge toward a more whole, realistic historical perspective and provide opportunities to share the stories, culture and history of the Indigenous Peoples of North America.
Indigenous Peoples Day in Boulder
In 2016, in collaboration with community members and the Human Relations Commission, Boulder City Council adopted Resolution No. 1190, a resolution declaring the second Monday of October of each year to be Indigenous Peoples Day. The resolution acknowledges that:
- The Boulder area encompasses ancestral homelands of Indigenous Peoples’ Nations.
- Indigenous People in Boulder have, as in all parts of the Americas, endured centuries of cruelty, exploitation and genocide.
- Facing and acknowledging our past, good as well as bad, makes our community stronger and more resilient.
- Boulder has benefited directly from Indian removal policies that violated human rights, broke government treaties and forced from their homeland.
- Those now living on these ancestral lands recognize that harm was done and acknowledge that we have a shared responsibility to forge a path forward to address the past and continuing harm to the Indigenous People and the land.