Ancient traditions are echoing, inviting us to honor and celebrate the wisdom of Indigenous roots. As the sun rises and sets, we're reminded of the enduring spirit and legacy of the first guardians of this Earth. Indigenous People’s Day isn't just a date—it's a vibrant call of the heart to honor, respect, reconcile, and celebrate.
What is Indigenous People’s Day?
Indigenous People's Day is a celebration that happens every year on the second Monday of October in America. It serves as a sacred moment of reflection and was established to challenge and transition away from Columbus Day. It’s an impactful and moving way to redirect focus to the deep roots of this land—the Indigenous communities.
We need to take time to recognize that long before explorers set foot on American soil, vibrant civilizations with intricate social networks, rich traditions, and deep spiritual practices thrived. They are the underbelly of American history and the most genuine example of humans resonating with the rhythm of the Earth.
This day illuminates the resilience and enduring spirit of these communities who withstood so many challenges of colonization and the horrors of assimilation.
Indigenous People’s Day is a call from the heart. It is a reminder to connect and appreciate the ancient wisdom of Indigenous People. To take the time they deserve for us to understand their sacrifices and to truly respect the beauty and depth of their (heart-wrenchingly) marginalized cultures.
By celebrating Indigenous People’s Day, we embrace an awakening to our interconnectedness. It's an opportunity to reflect on the histories, the truths, and the powerful spirit of the original inhabitants of this land. This day captures the essence of our shared journey on this Earth and the importance of unity, understanding, and reclamation.
America’s Indigenous Nations and Peoples to Celebrate
The First Nations living and past have their stories etched into the very soil we walk upon, all across the country and beyond. These unique and vibrant nations carry a legacy that demands our reverence and acknowledgment. They have continued to grow through every adversity, blossom, and rise and can inspire us to do the same.
As of today, the Bureau of Indian Affairs recognizes 574 Indian tribes, a number so much larger than most people realize. With 228 of these tribes calling the pristine lands of Alaska home, the diversity and widespread is astounding.
It's tempting to group all indigenous peoples as a collective, but this does a disservice to each distinct tribe and the people with it. Each one, holds such unique traditions, languages, and histories with an equal contribution to America's rich narrative. Acknowledging their presence isn't enough. To truly respect and understand them means recognizing the depth and taking our time to learn, embrace, integrate, and respect the beauty of their cultures.
How Honoring Indigenous Wisdom Helps Our Modern World
The timeless wisdom of Indigenous cultures offers a wealth of insights that are still relevant in today's fast-paced world. Rooted in a heartfelt respect for nature, their practices shine a light on sustainable living. The protection of the environment and their lack of waste is a true blueprint for ensuring future generations inherit a thriving planet.
Beyond environmental care, the principles of mutual support and collaboration in Indigenous cultures are invaluable. They present a wholehearted antidote to the disconnection so many of us experience in our digital age. The Indigenous people's community-driven ethos showcases how integral genuine human bonds are while reminding us all that there is strength in unity.
Spiritually, Indigenous practices provide a balanced approach, weaving together the mind, body, and spirit. Following in their footsteps leads to a deeper sense of peace and well-being on our journey to the heart. Have you ever heard Indigenous storytelling? It's a tradition dripping with rich therapeutic power, helping process trauma, see patterns, interconnectedness and find solace.
The transgressions against Indigenous peoples have been heinous, and these beautiful traditions have had to claw their way into modern times. We need to open our wild hearts in gratitude for the pure gift of learning, recognizing, and respectfully incorporating these practices that can amplify our lives. By valuing their teachings and weaving them into the fabric of our societies every day, we're paying homage and ensuring a more harmonious world.
How to Honor and Celebrate Indigenous People’s Day Today and Everyday
Honoring the rhythms and spirits of the first custodians of the land doesn't have to be difficult or a huge undertaking. Every step is better than no action at all. Please help support these incredible, resilient people by integrating some of these aspects into your lives:
Educate and Share Knowledge of Indigenous Cultures
Use books, documentaries, or online resources to immerse yourself in Indigenous histories and cultures. Know which nation you are a resident of. Ignite heart-centered conversations with family and friends and champion a narrative of respect and understanding.
Advocate for Indigenous Rights
Lend your voice to the causes close to Indigenous hearts. From safeguarding their rights to protecting their lands and traditions, your advocacy, from signing petitions to attending rallies, can be a shining light of hope and solidarity.
Attend Indigenous-led Events for New Perspectives
Be part of cultural gatherings, seminars, or workshops led by Indigenous communities. Experience firsthand the vibrant traditions, dances, and stories that have been preserved through generations. Alternatively, follow indigenous creators on social media platforms and actively listen to their powerful perspectives.
Support Indigenous Artisans and Small Businesses
Beautify your spaces with art, jewelry, or crafts sourced from Indigenous small businesses and creators is not just a purchase. It's an act of support that helps keep ancestral traditions alive and thriving. Seek out and support Indigenous-run small businesses in your community or online.
Respect Sacred Sites and Traditions
Whether you wander through valleys, scale mountains, or walk beside rivers, do so with reverence. Understand that this isn’t just plots of land but sacred spaces imbued with history and spiritual significance.
Make Sure You Are Politically Correct
Avoid reinforcing harmful stereotypes or making insensitive jokes. Ensure that your language is respectful, informed, and politically correct. Words have the power to uplift or harm; choose them with care and intention. Be sure you follow these political standards for costumes or impressions, too.
Embracing Indigenous People’s Day is about more than a single day of recognition. It's about intertwining their teachings, wisdom, and spirit into the very fabric of our daily lives. As you go forth, let the ancient songs of the earth and the timeless wisdom of its guardians be your guide towards a world of deeper understanding and unity.
As an initiated Medicine Woman, Wisdom Keeper, and Moondancer of the Danza ChichuatliMetzli, I urge you to honor, listen, and connect heart-to-heart with America's Indigenous nations and peoples. Not just on Indigenous People’s Day, but every day.