The second Monday of October in both Canada and the United States marks a day that celebrates the colonization and genocide of numerous indigenous groups in North, South, and Central America. In Canada, it’s Thanksgiving, a day to spend with family, enjoy food, and contemplate what we’re thankful for. In the United States, it’s Columbus Day, meant to honor the achievements of Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of the Americas. While you may just see it as a time to spend with family or just a free day to have off we encourage you to instead celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.
You may be wondering exactly how to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day so have a few suggestions for you! The very first step and a small one is to find out where and on whose land you currently reside. As a Montrealer, I’ve lived my whole life on the unceded territory of both the Kanien’kehá:ka and Anishinabeg people that was originally named Tiohtià:ke. Besides acknowledging the unique people and cultures of whose land you reside on we also encourage you to also spend today (and others) amplifying voices of indigenous creators, supporting organizations created to uplift indigenous communities, and donating money to indigenous movements and fundraisers.
Read below to find some creators,organizations, and fundraisers that you can support!
Voices To Amplify:
Shina Nova is a Montreal based throat singer that has been teaching and sharing her Inuk culture on TikTok. Through engaging and funny skits Shina educates her audience on Canadian indigenous history, debunks Hollywood-made myths, and (our personal favorite) remixes trending songs with throat singing.
Allen Salway is a 22-year-old writer and community organizer from the Navajo Nation. He uses his social media to bring awareness to the lack of access to clean water and electricity in the Navajo Nation and also helps spread awareness to the struggles of other indigenous peoples/nations worldwide.
Organizations To Support:
Native Montreal is a friendship center located in downtown Montreal created with the goal of promoting cultural recognition of indigenous culture. The center has many programs including (but not limited to) providing services for educational,personal and economic development.
Fundraisers To Donate To:
The Oki Language Project is an initiative engaged with bringing awareness to the importance of preseving indigenous languages. Led by Gene Brave Rock and inspired by the Blackfoot Language Revival Group, The Oki Language Project is raising funds in order to travel across Turtle Island(North America) to document every tribe’s ‘hello” through the sharing of stories by aging elders.
On September 28th, 2020, Joyce Echaquan, was murdered by two nurses working at the CISSS de Lanaudiere in Joliette, Quebec. She was someone’s daughter, a partner, sister, friend and a mother to 7 kids who she never got the chance to go home to. We encourage you to sign the petition to put pressure on government officials to give Joyce the justice she deserves as well as donated to her Go Fund Me campaign to help her family with funeral costs and help support her children.
There are SO many great indigenous creators and organizations to follow as well as fundraisers to support. We’ve only provided y’all with a few but make sure to keep an eye out for all the others doing work their communities. Especially when it comes to environmentalism since we didn’t touch on any of that today! Happy Indigenous People’s Day!