The Washington Post reported that Native American leaders and tribal members from across the country are in Washington for five days of protests beginning Monday.
The demonstrations, according to the Post, are “part of People v Fossil Fuels protests by a coalition of groups, known as Build Back Fossil Free, who are demanding that the Biden administration take more extreme actions to curb carbon-producing fossil-fuel projects at a time when scientists say the world needs to sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions.”
The federal holiday is traditionally officially dedicated to Christopher Columbus. This situation highlights the sharp divide between what the Associated Press reports are “those who view the explorer as a representative of Italian American history and others horrified by an annual tribute that ignores native people whose lives and culture was forever changed by colonialism.”
Encouraged by national calls for racial justice, communities across the U.S. have been to take a deeper look at Columbus’ legacy in recent years – choosing to replace the holiday with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American cabinet member in U.S. history, ran the Boston Marathon Monday (the first time the event is being held since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic) and tweeted that: “As I run today’s Boston Marathon on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I will carry with me my ancestors who gave me the ability to run.”
Haaland marked on Friday the government’s order to restore National Monument protections to, among other places, Bears Ears in Utah, which is steeped in Native history and which Donald Trump tried to shrink in area. Haaland spoke alongside Joe Biden, who issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, yet which grassroots climate activists criticized for being filled with empty words and promises.