There are two holidays being celebrated on October 9th that demonstrate how cultures can change in response to information and awareness. As a B Corporation, AMS Fulfillment is at the forefront of cultural change as we seek to be the change we wish to see in the world.
Back in 1937, Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt made Columbus Day, October 12, a national holiday. This holiday was created primarily because of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal and charitable organization. It was moved to the second Tuesday in October in 1971. This year it’s on October 9th.
October 9th is also celebrated as Indigenous People’s Day in many US states. The organization of Indigenous People’s Day began at a UN conference on discrimination in 1977. The State of South Dakota recognized Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day in 1989, followed by Berkeley and Santa Cruz California. Today a number of States have joined South Dakota in celebrating Indigenous People’s Day instead of or in addition to Columbus Day. Those States are Arizona, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington DC.
We all know the story of how Columbus landed in the Region of the Americas in 1492. He landed in a small island in the Bahamas. His arrival in the region began an era of colonization that in some cases virtually eliminated the Indigenous populations living in the area. This part of the story was not spoken about for many years. But we have grown and are growing as a culture, recognizing that there was a negative to colonization and genocidal damage to Indigenous populations. The celebration of Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day allows us to see the truth of the situation. The following quote is from almanac.com.
“The observance of Columbus Day is not without controversy, however. Although Columbus’ landing in the New World marked the start of a new age of exploration and development for the world, the reality of European colonization is that it brought disease, enslavement, and genocide to the indigenous people of the Americas. This part of colonial history has largely been overlooked in Columbus Day celebrations. However, this has been changing in recent decades, with more and more cities and states choosing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead.”
Columbus Day is considered a recognition of Italian heritage, so the holiday recognizes the history, culture and accomplishments of people of Italian descent. It has been celebrated since 1792 but became today’s Columbus Day in 1971. Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated to honor the cultures, histories and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples and their ancestors who lived on the land now known as North America. On this day we reflect not only on their cultures and tribal roots, but also on the tragic stories and the strength of their communities.
According to the above mentioned website, the purpose of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is not to erase Columbus Day from history but rather to recognize, honor, and celebrate the Native American cultures and people who have inhabited the Americas since long before European explorers arrived.
At AMS Fulfillment we are celebrating both. Of course we honor the contributions of people of Italian descent and the development of the Americas as we would not exist without it. That is a part of our heritage. At the same time we recognize what the early colonizers and pioneers did not acknowledge, and that is the equal humanity of Indigenous Peoples. There is pain in America’s past, and things were done that we are committed to acknowledge and change as best we can. As a B Corporation, our desire and goal is to make the world a better place.
Today is a national holiday. On this day may we recognize and uplift a changing world where the wrongs of the past are acknowledged, and efforts are made to repair and restore as best we can while appreciating the contributions of the explorers who were looking for a better world.
Link to White House proclamation on Indigenous People’s Day HERE
Link to White House proclamation on Columbus Day HERE
There will be some colorful and exciting Columbus Day parades, and we encourage readers to enjoy these events, either by attending or watching online. In addition, in recognition of Indigenous People’s Day we are sharing a link to scholarships that address the lack of access indigenous peoples have to higher education. We encourage readers to share the scholarship information wherever appropriate.
Have a Happy Holiday, and B The Change!