Indigenous Peoples Day MA is a coalition of organizations and individuals who work to get Indigenous Peoples Day legislation passed in Massachusetts and to implement celebrations.
Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes and celebrates the heritage of Native Americans and the history of their Nations. Honoring Columbus Day celebrates a legacy of genocide and perpetuates ongoing racism and neocolonialism towards Indigenous peoples. Columbus did not discover the Americas; you can’t “discover” lands that are already inhabited. The historical record needs to be set straight in order to respect the culture, language and traditional lifestyles of the Indigenous ancestors who existed long before Columbus’ voyage.
Many American cities and states have already legally abolished Columbus Day and recognized Indigenous Peoples Day in its place. Enacting an officially recognized Indigenous Peoples Day would shed light on the disproportionately higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and incarceration experienced by Native Americans, as well as the lack of sufficient federal funding for education and health care on reservations. The various cultures and histories of Indigenous people within the United States are often reduced to harmful stereotypes, offensive mascots, or virtual erasure. A national holiday can be an opportunity for both education and celebration.
Massachusetts has long considered itself a beacon of progress for the United States as a whole, and needs to stop clinging to the concept of Columbus as a hero. For Massachusetts to become a truly progressive, inclusive, diverse and equitable state, Columbus Day needs to be abolished and replaced by Indigenous Peoples Day.
Interested in joining us? Get involved.
You can learn more about other Massachusetts legislative efforts that would benefit Indigenous Peoples here.
Presentation to the Newton City Council in support of the Indigenous Peoples Day resolution (October 8, 2020)
Speakers in order of appearance:
- Darlene Flores, Higuayagua Taino (Newton resident)
- Chali’Naru Dones, United Confederation of Taino People – (UCTP) representative/ Guainia Taino Tribe (Newton resident)
- R. Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero, President, United Confederation of Taino People; Kasike, Taino iukaieke Guainia
- Lynne Guitar, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, Historian & Cultural Anthropologist, Taíno Specialist, Writer, Editor, and Spanish-English Translator
- Jean-Luc Pierite, Tunica-Biloxi – President of Board of Directors, North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB)
- Mahtowin Munro, Lakota – Co-leader, United American Indians of New England (UAINE) and IndigenousPeoplesDayMA.org
Statement of Tata’Niki Iraheta, Taino Nation, age 9
Statement of Tata’Niki Iraheta, Taino Nation, age 9. Newton resident and elementary school student.
An Act establishing Indigenous Peoples Day: Segment from the 1/11/22 MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda Teach-In
Watch this powerful video of Indigenous testimony about the need to support one of the five Indigenous-centered bills currently before the legislature in Massachusetts! You can see the full video about all five MA Indigenous Agenda bills here, and learn more about the MA Indigenous Agenda campaign at MAIndigenousAgenda.org.