Indigenous Peoples Day 2022 is on Monday, October 10 in the U.S. Is your team ready?
According to the United Nations, there are more than 476 million Indigenous peoples living in 90 countries all over the world. In fact, Indigenous people comprise 6.2% of the world’s population.
Read on to find 9+ engaging ways to commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day 2022 with your remote team.
In this post, you’ll find:
- The history of Indigenous Peoples Day
- Why more businesses and local governments are honoring Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day
- Respectful ways to honor Indigenous Peoples Day at work
- Indigenous Peoples Day 2022 activities for remote teams
- Things to avoid on Indigenous Peoples Day (and year-round!)
What is Indigenous Peoples Day?
Indigenous Peoples Day in the U.S. is a time to honor and celebrate Native American peoples. Therefore, many people use the day as an opportunity to lift up and celebrate Native American culture, history, and teachings. At the same time, this can be a somber day to learn about and reflect on the atrocities that colonialists have perpetrated against Indigenous communities throughout history. Many of these inequities continue today.
Across the United States, many local governments, schools, and businesses are choosing to observe Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day. In fact, 17 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 cities celebrate the holiday. While Indigenous Peoples Day is not yet a national holiday, there is a growing movement to declare it a federal holiday in the United States.
The idea for Indigenous Peoples Day was sparked at a United Nations conference in the late 1970s. South Dakota became the first state to officially recognize the day in 1989.
When is Indigenous People’s Day 2022?
In the United States, Indigenous People’s Day is observed by many on the second Monday in October. In 2022, Indigenous People’s Day is Monday, October 10.
Indigenous Peoples Day Around the World:
- Canada: National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21
- Taiwan: Indigenous Peoples’ Day, August 1
- Australia: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, August 4
- Philippines: Indigenous Peoples’ Day, August 9
- International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, August 9
U.S. Holidays to Keep in Mind:
- Native American Heritage Day, Friday immediately following the 4th Thursday in November
- Native American Indian Heritage Month: November
- Tennessee: American Indian Day, 4th Monday of September
- California & Nevada, Native American Day, 4th Friday of September
- South Dakota & Wisconsin, Native American Day, 2nd Monday of October
What About Columbus Day?
Indigenous People’s Day started as a movement in protest of Columbus Day, the federal holiday that honors Christopher Columbus. That is to say, many people now recognize the controversy and bloodshed that surround Columbus’s legacy. Others still observe Columbus Day and feel we should celebrate Columbus as an explorer.
Columbus is often credited with “discovering” the Americas. However, this claim ignores the fact that Indigenous peoples had populated the Americas for more than 20,000 years. Additionally, when it comes to European explorers, Leif Eriksson of Greenland is generally regarded as the first European to sail to the Americas. His voyage took place nearly 400 years before Columbus set sail in 1492.
Furthermore, Columbus never actually set foot in North America. Instead, his travels included the Caribbean islands, as well as South and Central America.
Columbus is now associated with a violent, brutal chapter of history due to the harm he and his crew inflicted on many Indigenous peoples. Eventually, Columbus was arrested and lost favor with the Spanish monarchy. Many people view his voyages as the start of the colonization of the Americas.
This fall, consider skipping Columbus Day 2022 and beginning a new workplace tradition of observing Indigenous Peoples Day.
1. Acknowledge the Land You’re On
Did you know you can search your corporate address to see which Indigenous lands you’re on? For example, Unexpected Virtual Tours is located on the traditional territory of the Muscogee/Creek Nation.
To honor Indigenous Peoples Day this year, ask each of your remote team members to research the history of the land they’re on. For instance, you can search your individual locations, or everyone can research the land of your corporate headquarters.
Research the culture and history of the tribe whose land you’re on. Then, share your findings and reflections during a group video call.
To get started, learn what native land you’re on by visiting native-land.ca.
2. Share About Indigenous Peoples Day
Use your company’s reach and influence to teach others about Indigenous Peoples Day. You could add a blurb about the holiday to your internal employee e-newsletter.
Take it a step further and post about Indigenous Peoples Day on your company’s social media accounts. Additionally, you can use the day to amplify the voices of Native American thought leaders. Consider also diversifying your social media feed by “following” Indigenous-led social media accounts.
3. Rebuild Local Ecosystems with Native Plants
Modern agriculture tends to work against the land instead of with it. As a result, we can harm our natural environment without even realizing it.
Take a cue from Native American gardening techniques. Many Native American tribes were farming in organic, sustainable ways for thousands of years before it was trendy.
To participate in this activity, organize a volunteer project with your team and plant local, native plants that are unique to your environment. You can do this in partnership with a local nonprofit – or even in your own backyard!
Explore The Old Farmer’s Almanac guide to Native American gardening techniques.
4. Share & Read Books by Indigenous Peoples
Too often, the history of Indigenous peoples is not only left untold – but it’s excluded, twisted, or diminished on purpose. However, reading a book by an Indigenous author is a great way to “flip the script.” Consider hosting a virtual book club for your team to dig into a meaningful story together.
Whether you choose a historical nonfiction read or a fictional novel, we can all benefit from diversifying our reading lists.
Some historical reads to consider:
- “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies” by Bartolomé de las Casas
- “1491: New Revelations Of The Americas Before Columbus” by Charles C. Mann
- “An Indigenous People’s History Of The United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown
5. Donate to a Cause
This Indigenous Peoples Day, put your money where your mouth is and support a cause that helps Indigenous people. For example, you could donate a portion of your proceeds. Or, you could match employees’ contributions to an approved nonprofit.
A few causes to consider this Indigenous Peoples Day:
- American Indian College Fund. Help support Native students and tribal college education.
- Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. This organization aims to end violence against Indigenous women in the United States. Indigenous women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than their non-Indigenous counterparts.
- Seeding Sovereignty. This Indigenous-led collective works to radicalize and disrupt colonized spaces through land, body, and food sovereignty work, community building, and cultural preservation.
Find additional Native American organizations to support.
6. Purchase from Indigenous Businesses
Consider Indigenous businesses this month when purchasing items for yourself or your team.
You can find an Indigenous business for many items – from jewelry, clothing, and body care products to Native American home décor, cookbooks, and artwork.
7. Create a Slack Channel for Deeper Discussion
If your team uses a chat app like Slack or Teams, create a channel to explore Indigenous Peoples Day further. During the day, you can ask each person to research and share a few sentences about a different topic related to the holiday. For example:
- How has Native American cooking influenced American food?
- Who is a Native American person throughout history you admire, and why?
- Share 3 facts about the Indigenous peoples whose land you’re currently on.
8. Take a Class to Learn Traditional Skills
Explore Indigenous art and culture through the Redhawk Native American Arts Council. Their virtual classes are tailored for your business’s unique needs and goals.
Virtual workshops offered include:
- Online Native Arts classes
- Social justice & activism from an Indigenous perspective
- Native American dancing & pow wow history
- Cultural sensitivity training
9. Help Enact Meaningful Change
So, you’ve decided to skip Columbus Day 2022 and commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day instead. After learning more about these holidays, you might feel moved to do more.
If so, join the Zinn Education Project and their initiative to “Abolish Columbus Day.” You can find resources including social media graphics, website banners, and more to help share the message.
Learn more about the Abolish Columbus Day initiative.
Things to Avoid on Indigenous Peoples Day
Be sure you’re creating an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion by avoiding potentially harmful stereotypes and behaviors.
Here are a few things to avoid on Indigenous Peoples Day 2022 (and year-round):
- Avoid wearing a stereotypical garment (i.e. headdress, fringe, face paint, feathers). These items can have a spiritual (and sometimes sacred) significance. For example, in the Oglala Lakota Nation, the headdress is only worn by revered elders who have demonstrated their selflessness and leadership throughout their lives. As a result, wearing these items as costume is disrespectful to sacred traditions.
- Refrain from using expressions like “sitting Indian style” or “spirit animal.” Other words to avoid using out of context include “Chief” (when speaking about a boss), “tribe” (to refer to a group of friends or colleagues), and “Powwow,” (when referring to a casual group meeting). These words carry special, sometimes sacred meaning and should be used respectfully in context.
- Don’t purchase Native American inspired products or costumes (think: dream catchers, beaded jewelry with Native American patterns) from big box retailers. Instead, seek out these products from Indigenous creators and business owners.
- Another faux paus: celebrating the fun parts of this holiday without respecting and honoring its somber history. Remember, for many people, Indigenous Peoples Day is a time for reflection and remembrance.
Find more diversity, equity, and inclusion team building activities for remote teams. Explore our live, interactive virtual team building experiences.