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Now I Get It: How did the Indigenous Peoples' Day movement start?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a growing movement to replace Columbus Day, which is celebrated on the second Monday in October.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrates the culture of Native Americans and challenges the idea that Christopher Columbus was the first to discover America.

So how did the Indigenous Peoples’ Day movement start?

It traces back to 1977, when a delegation of Native Americans spoke about it at an international conference in Geneva sponsored by the United Nations, which focused on issues regarding discrimination against them.

The movement picked up steam in 1990 when the first continental conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance was held in Quito, Ecuador.

At the meeting, representatives from Indian groups agreed they would mark 1992 as a year to promote liberation.

That year was significant because it was the 500th anniversary of the first voyages of Christopher Columbus.

So attendees from Northern California planned protests against the Columbus Day celebration in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1992.

A task force called Resistance 500 also brought its concerns to the City Council of Berkeley, Calif.

It proposed the idea of Indigenous Peoples’ Day — and Berkeley became the first city to adopt it, in 1992.

Less than half of U.S. states give employees a paid day off for Columbus Day.

And although Indigenous Peoples’ Day isn’t a federal holiday, dozens of cities — with Los Angeles and Davenport, Iowa, the most recent —
now celebrate it in place of Columbus Day, as the movement continues to grow.