Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day
from Suquamish Clearwater
Monday, October 8th marks a special day for the Suquamish people and the indigenous people across the world. Indigenous Peoples’ Day (which occurs annually on the 2nd Monday of October) is a day where we recognize the history and culture of Native Americans and their contribution to both the United States and the world. As the original settlers of both this nation and the Pacific Northwest, Native peoples have made an indelible mark that we wish to recognize on this day.
The beginnings of this day of remembrance and honor began in South Dakota in the late 1980s. Working with various representatives of the 9 recognized tribes in the state, Governor George Mickleson established Native American Day in 1989. Rather than honor a man who did not discover or even set foot in the present day United States, many tribes, states, and cities have followed the Dakotan lead by officially recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In Washington State Seattle, Olympia, Spokane, Tacoma, and Bainbridge Island officially recognize this day. We hope that in the future, more communities recognize the contributions of the first people on this continent.
Native American contributions to the United States are numerous. Many of the foods we eat (potatoes, beans, corn, squash, and tomatoes to name a few), were first cultivated by Native people. Many words (barbeque, potlach, muckamuck, moccasin) and places in Washington (Tacoma, Seattle, Spokane, Puyallup, Issaquah) get their names from the original inhabitants. The tradition of environmentalism, the arts, charity, and military service (native people serve in the military at a higher rate than any other ethnic group) continues with Native Americans today. We hope you will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day with us on this day!