Following a growing trend, the city council of Albuquerque, New Mexico has voted six to three to recognize October 12th – typically known to most as “Columbus Day” within the USA– as Indigenous Peoples’ day in a new proclamation. Albuquerque has the highest concentration of Indigenous people in New Mexico.
In the past two months, eight cities got rid of Columbus Day in favor of adopting Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Three of those cities adopted Indigenous Peoples’ Day this week.
Here are the names of those 8 cities:
Albuquerque (New Mexico), Lawrence (KS), Portland (OR), St. Paul (MN), Bexar County (TX), Anadarko (OK), Olympia (WA), Alpena (MI).
These cities are following in the footsteps of Seattle and Minneapolis.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City came close to passing it in September and will try to pass it again on October 13th, the day after the holiday.
This name change is a fantastic trend that needs to grow fast, but it needs to be followed up by concrete action and legislation. Nationwide (and worldwide – particularly in Latin American countries that have suffered from US-backed coups), indigenous people suffer from economic inequality, health problems, and human rights abuses. It’s time we celebrate their culture and tradition rather than their oppressors’, and it’s time we give back to those we’ve taken so much from.
As Malawi’sNyasa Times reports, in April, the African nation Malawi raised the minimum age of marriage to 18 years old. One might wonder, however, “What about the legions of underage children who were legally wed before the law took effect?
Well, one of the regional chiefs in Malawi – an elder woman who goes by the name Inkosi Kachindamoto – annulled the marriages of more than 300 youth in her district and sent them back to school.
In addition, she fired several village heads who had sanctioned the unions.
Child advocates around the world cheered on the effort to encourage girl education and abolish early marriages as soon as the news circulated.
Knowing the value education has in helping to empower citizens and strengthen the mind, the Senior chief terminated 330 marriages, of which 175 were girl-wives and 155 were boy-fathers. Those chldren were sent to school instead.
Said 18-year-old Malawian Memory Banda to The Guardian:
“Marriage is often the end for girls like me. But if our leaders will invest in us and give us the chance to be educated, we will become women who create a better society for everyone.”
“Native Americans represent just one per cent of the US population and some languages have only one speaker left. Now a new generation is fighting to preserve the culture.” In an excellent piece in Marie Claire magazine, you can meet a few of the women leading that fight, including 22-year-old Sage Honga, pictured here, who wants to encourage young people to leave the reservation, get an education, and then return home to make a difference in the community: “My tribe, the Hualapai people, is so small that I want to be a role model to show my community and youth that it is possible to come off our land and do big things.”
Another woman featured, 30-year-old Evereta Thinn, a member of the Diné or Navajo tribe, aspires to open a language and cultural immersion school for young people. She explains, “Knowing who you are as a Native, know the teachings from your elders and engraining them as you go out into the modern world is how you maintain that balance… once the language fades, the culture will slowly start to go too. If the younger generations cannot speak the language, how will they be equipped to make decisions on policies and protect our tribes in the future?”
You can read more about Sage, Evereta, and other Native American women fighting to preserve their culture on Marie Claire here.