Indigenous Peoples’ Day – 5 Ways to Acknowledge This Day

Last year, during our campus tour at Santa Clara University, the docent took a moment to recognize and thank the Indigenous Peoples’ for the use of the land that we were gathered on.

“We pause to acknowledge that Santa Clara University sits on the land of the Ohlone and Muwekma Ohlone people. We remember their continued connection to this region and give thanks to them for allowing us to live, work, learn, and pray on their traditional homeland. We offer our respect to their Elders and to all Ohlone people of the past and present.

Santa Clara University

I found this statement and acknowledgment to be very moving. It was the first time I had experienced a “Land Acknowledgment”. Since that time, I have heard it more frequently at events and gatherings.

What is Land Acknowledgment?

Land Acknowledgement is defined as a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.

To perform a Land Acknowledgment, first, find out the history of the land you’re on.

  • What are the name and correct pronunciation of their tribe and their language for whose land you are occupying?
  • Who are historical figures within the tribe that you can learn more about?

In our town, Chico, CA, we acknowledge the land of the Mechoopda tribe.

A land acknowledgment is just one way we can celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

As of today, 14 States and 130 cities celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Keep reading to find out other ways to recognize this important day.

The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has compiled wonderful ideas on taking a moment to celebrate the lives and traditions of our lands’ first inhabitants.

Ideas for Indigenous Peoples’ Day Recognition

  1. Plant something that is native to your area. Native plants provide habitat and food for animals and are the cornerstone of a healthy environment. For example, the pawpaw tree (a native tree widely distributed in most of the United States and common east of the Mississippi) is the only host species for the caterpillars of the zebra swallowtail butterfly.

    What plants are native to your area? Find out about native plants and species in your area by visiting the U.S. Forest Service website Celebrating Wildflowers.

  2. Attend a virtual Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration by streaming the Indigenous Peoples’ Day program today, Oct 12. You can also participate in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Convergence, on October 12, which spotlights Indigenous leaders, change-makers, and artists working on important contemporary issues.

  3. Learn more by visiting Native Knowledge 360°, and advocate for Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Native Knowledge 360° is Smithsonian’s National Education Initiative, working to transform teaching and learning about American Indians. One practice we recommend is to acknowledge the lands you live on and name the Indigenous people originally from there. The museum can help with things to consider when thinking about Land Acknowledgements.

  4. Find out what political and social efforts are being led by Indigenous people in your area. Ask how can you support and elevate visibility for those efforts?

  5. Support local Indigenous artists in your area.

Read more about this exciting and important topic on the Smithsonian Website.

Thank you for being a part of the diabetes community.

Coach Beverly and Bryanna


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