President Biden issued a proclamation recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day on Oct. 8. He became the first President to formally acknowledge the holiday by doing so.
The statement began by officially defining the significance of the day. “On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, our Nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty and commits to honoring the Federal Government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations,” he said.
“Our country was conceived on a promise of equality and opportunity for all people—a promise that, despite the extraordinary progress we have made through the years, we have never fully lived up to. That is especially true when it comes to upholding the rights and dignity of the Indigenous people who were here long before colonization of the Americas began,” he continued before noting the behaviors that led to the forced migrations of Indigenous people offered to as the Trail of Tears.
“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures. Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society. We also recommit to supporting a new, brighter future of promise and equity for Tribal Nations—a future grounded in Tribal sovereignty and respect for the human rights of Indigenous people in the Americas and around the world.”
Issues concerning the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples include the construction of pipelines through their land (including the extremely controversial Dakota Access Pipeline) and the limited access to and the high cost of food in their communities.
During the statement he did not acknowledge Christopher Columbus.
It ended with him establishing the formal proclamation and iniating a call to action to communities across the nation.
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 11, 2021, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities,” he said.
“I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and the Indigenous peoples who contribute to shaping this Nation.”