Oregon Recognizes Indigenous Peoples Day

This year, Oregon will celebrate Indigenous People Day on October 11, as opposed to Columbus Day, as a result of passing House Bill 2526 in April.  

The bill recognizes that Chistopher Columbus “opened the door to heinous crimes against humanity,” and calls into question the validity of merits attributed to Columbus: “Christopher Columbus, a man who is known to have ‘discovered’ the Americas, came upon land that was already inhabited by Indigenous People, his historically cited contributions being either inaccurate or facially (factually) not worthy of celebrating.”   

Corvallis sits on the land of the Kalapuya People, descendants of whom are now members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and is one of 130 cities that has recognized the second Monday of October as Indigenous People Day since 2015.  

This year, Oregon became one of the 13 states that joined South Dakota, which has recognized the second Monday of October as Indigenous People Day since 1990. Other states include Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Wisconsin – plus the District of Columbia.  

Indigenous People Day was first proposed by Haudenosaqunee (Iroquois) nation during a United Nations conference in 1977, as a day celebrated besides, not instead of, Columbus Day. 

The celebrations in Oregon will take place on Tuesday, October 12, with a webinar hosted by Clackamas County and Clackamas Community College in collaboration with Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and local community members.  

The celebratory webinar will include drumming, dancing and perspectives from Indigenous community members, and a land acknowledgement.  

By Joanna Rosinska