Urge The Episcopal Church and Constituents to Designate Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Resolved, That the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church meeting April 20-23, at the Condado Plaza Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico adopts the following resolution and hereby instructs the Secretary of Executive Council to forward it to the Secretary of General Convention.
Resolved, the House of ________________ concurring,
Resolved, that on the homelands of the Piscataway, Nentego (Nanticoke), and Susquehannock peoples, the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church urges all Episcopal entities, dioceses, parishes and missions to designate a day honoring our Indigneous ancestors. Further, domestic and United States territorial dioceses across the church as well as all Episcopal entities to refer to the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day; and be it further
Resolved, that nations across the globe have adopted Indigenous’ Peoples Day as a holiday and/or observance, including, but not limited to Colombia and Taiwan, and, further the United Nations recognized August 9 as the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.
Resolved, That observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day would serve as a celebration and a remembrance of the Indigenous peoples who have for thousands of generations safeguarded the land, and who, in the face of cultural genocide, preserved their languages, traditions, stories, and ceremonies for future generations; and be it further
Resolved, That all diocesan offices, parishes, and Episcopal Church-related organizations are encouraged to examine their observance, remembrance, and honoring of our Indigenous and Native siblings.
Columbus Day, the second Monday in October, has been designated by the United States Federal government since 1937. There has been a movement to designate this holiday to honor the people who tended and took care of the land when Columbus “discovered” it in 1492. In recent years, states have opted to drop observing the holiday altogether or redesignate it as Indigenous’ Peoples Day.
The State of New York, where DFMS is legally located, still designates the second Monday in October as Columbus Day. South Dakota, New Mexico, Maine, among others, have changed the language to be Indigenous Peoples’, Native Americans’, or American Indian Heritage Day.
President Joe Biden was the first United States head of state to acknowledge this cultural change, proclaiming October 11, 2021 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Biden’s address says, “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.”
The Episcopal Church has been a long-term advocate for Indigenous and Native rights and ministries. Since 1973, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church has recognized the importance of advocating for and developing Native-focused Episcopal ministries.
A Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2021. (2021, October 8). The White House. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/10/08/a-proclamation-indigenous-peoples-day-2021/
Desilver, D. (2021, October 11). Working on Columbus Day? It depends on where your job is. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/10/11/working-on-columbus-day-it-depends-on-where-your-job-is/
State of New York 2022 Legal Holidays. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2022, from https://www.cs.ny.gov/attendance_leave/2022_legal_holidays.cfm