Last year President Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to formally commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Now instead of celebrating Columbus Day, more than a dozen states recognize some version of the holiday. Although it is not a federal holiday yet, there are two bills in Congress (one in the House and one in the Senate) that propose to make it one.
The Indigenous communities that have lived in the Americas for thousands of years are recognized on this special day. Indigenous People Day is typically on the second Monday of October. On Friday (October 7) Biden issued a proclamation that stated Indigenous People Day is intended to “honor the sovereignty, resilience and immense contributions that Native Americans have made to the world.” He continued by saying, “we have more to do to help lift Tribal communities from the shadow of our broken promises, to protect their right to vote and to help them access other opportunities that their ancestors were long denied.”
Through proclamations, more and more cities are adopting the holiday and showing their support. As we continue to shed light on this growing holiday, we highlight some notable Indigenous people that you may or may not know have Native American heritage. Check out the gallery below!