After years of campaigning in America, President Joe Biden has issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The day was announced to coincide with Columbus Day on October 11.

Biden wrote in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamation, “for generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures.”

“Today, we recognise Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”

Biden also acknowledged the violence and harm caused by Columbus and the other explorers brought on the Americas.

“Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities,” Biden wrote.

“It is a measure of our greatness as a Nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past — that we face them honestly, we bring them to the light, and we do all we can to address them.”

Executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, John Echohawk, said Biden’s decision to recognise was an important step for America’s Indigenous Peoples.

“Big changes happen from each small step, and we hope this administration
intends to continue making positive steps towards shaping a brighter future
for all citizens,” Echohawak said.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday celebrating Native American peoples while commemorating their histories and cultures.

By Teisha Cloos