Indigenous Peoples Day is October 11

Indigenous Peoples Day image courtesy of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

On October 11, some people celebrate Columbus Day, while others celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. It is extremely important to understand that Columbus Day, like Thanksgiving, when traditionally recognized in the mainstream United States does not fully represent contentment, good times or thankfulness for all Americans. 

In fact, oftentimes the oppression and adversities experienced by Indigenous during both the “discovery” of America, and the arrival of Pilgrims have been left out of American history or ignored. Because of this, many cities in the United States are moving toward celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day and replacing Columbus Day. Olympia is one of the many cities that celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day (Resource: Related Olympian Article).

As a system, we are actively planning for aligned efforts that will support an updated curriculum in Social Studies and an inclusive vision for learning aligned with the OSPI Washington State Learning Standards (WSLSs) for Social Studies (2018) and C3 Framework

It is very healthy to inquire and push back on traditions and systems that might need re-examining, as we continue to grow as a system. Just because we have engaged in practices a certain way for years, does not mean it is the most appropriate way. To help us in this journey, we have the Olympia School District (OSD) Race & Decision-Making Tool that can support reflection as we seek to provide inclusive decision-making structures and opportunities. Within our committees, teams and schools, we each serve as leaders — each educator within OSD is invited to consider where the OSD Race & Decision-Making Tool might fit within your leadership toolkit.

Related Resources for Use with Students

Educating students on different cultures and holidays, including religious holidays, in alignment with the WSLSs for a given subject area is perfectly fine and encouraged. Below are some resources “for use with adults” that can support considerations as each of us is careful not to offend, show bias or proselytize. In addition to delving into one of the resources below, we encourage educators to ask questions, seek to understand and model life-long learning with colleagues and students. 

Related Resources for Use with Adults

The texts below are available within our Gale Professional Growth e-Library. View a video overview for accessing Gale e-Library through Schoology (4 minutes), or access information about the Gale e-Library. In order of publication year:

Removing Labels, Grades K12: 40 Techniques to Disrupt Negative Expectations About Students and Schools (2021)