Honoring Indigenous Peoples Day
At Intuitive Digital, we recognize Christopher Columbus for what he was, a colonizer who paved a path for stealing and plundering the land of the Indigenous people of what is now called The United States of America, and the generations of genocide that have followed the initial contact.
We instead honor and celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, and take this as an opportunity to unlearn white-washed history, work to repair the harm that was done, and seek to find ways to prevent further harm to Indigenous communities.
The Land Is Everything
Today, there are 574 federally recognized tribes in the US. There are also many others that are not formally recognized by the federal government. Each has its own culture, traditions, and often language. But one strong commonality between indigenous tribes is their deep connection and reverence for the land.
You may or may not be familiar with Land Acknowledgements. These seek to acknowledge that the vast majority of American citizens today live on stolen land, to honestly remember the history of where we live, and to make visible those Indigenous people who still reside there today. It acknowledges the injustices and horrific treatment Indigenous groups have suffered in the past, and the systemic oppression that continues to cast a long shadow over Indigenous communities – shaping their experiences and opportunities to this day.
As a remote company, we have employees who work throughout the country, and on occupied lands of various tribes. We acknowledge that our employees occupy the territories of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, as well as the Erie, Kickapoo and Shawnee Tribes, the Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Pueblo, Shoshone, and Ute and the Chumash Tribes, among others.
Land Back Campaigns
Land acknowledgments are only the first step. Once we acknowledge injustices, that enables us to take the next step to take action to rectify them. Hence the growing Land Back movement.
This might sound scary at face value for non-indigenous people living in the US. ‘If all the land is stolen land, does that mean we all need to move out of the country?!’ I’m certainly not an expert in the movement, but the goal is not to boot out every person in America who doesn’t have indigenous ancestry.
It is an opportunity to return sacred lands to their original caretakers, places like Mount Rushmore which “sit in the heart of the sacred Black Hills, but it is an international symbol of white supremacy and colonization”. It is also an opportunity to as better integrate some Indigenous values and traditions into the Western European-dominant culture, thereby benefitting us all. By changing cultural norms and behaviors related to caring for and respecting the land we all live on, we also show respect and acknowledge the value of the communities who first lived here.
Indigenous land activism is most widely recognized and reported on in relation to protests against misuse of what is federally protected tribal lands. Still, the government has a STRONG history of ignoring these whenever they see fit. For example, the Dakota Access Pipeline was set to run through tribal lands against their will. What’s worse is that the private sector and government response to these legal and legitimate protests is often swift and aggressive.
Disrespect And Mistreatment Of Indigenous People
Indigenous people have been largely ignored, stereotyped, or misrepresented by mainstream Western American society. Racist representation in the media, and hiring white actors to play indigenous characters has persisted through the 21st century. Meanwhile, serious issues affecting indigenous communities receive little to no media coverage.
Missing Indigenous Women
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement is a crucial advocacy effort aimed at raising awareness about the alarming rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in North America.
“Native American women make up a significant portion of the missing and murdered cases. Not only is the murder rate ten times higher than the national average for women living on reservations but murder is the third leading cause of death for Native women.”
This movement highlights the deeply troubling issue of violence against Indigenous women, which has been historically overlooked and underreported. It seeks to shed light on the systemic factors contributing to this crisis, such as poverty, racism, and inadequate law enforcement response.
Representation In The Media
From whitewashing native characters in Hollywood to blatantly racist caricatures; the track record in Hollywood is awful.
“Representation matters”. It’s true. It is important that different cultures and groups are presented to the world in a respectful and intentional manner. We are happy to see the move towards more authentic Indigenous representation in film and television today. There are a growing number of Indigenous content creators, artists, and organizations highlighting native culture and giving voice to their communities in new and innovative ways. Who is telling the stories and why are just as important, if not more so, than the faces and final products.
Listen and learn first. Then put your recourses behind Indigenous-led efforts to address these and other issues affecting their communities.
- Learn about the history of the land on which you live
- Follow Indigenous Activists
- Raise awareness of and donate to the MMIWUSA
Today And Everyday
Indigenous Peoples’ Day acknowledges the resilience and contributions of Indigenous communities throughout the world to our shared history. It recognizes the need to rectify the erasure of Indigenous voices and cultures in our collective narrative, promoting a more inclusive and equitable society. In observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, it is but one step on the road towards justice and healing that emphasizes the importance of respecting and honoring Indigenous peoples and their experiences.