Indigenous Peoples' Day

[ in-dij-uh-nuhs pee-puhlz dey ]
/ ɪnˈdɪdʒ ə nəs ˈpi pəlz ˌdeɪ /
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the second Monday in October, a holiday in the United States that honors the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and celebrates their history and culture: In many states and other localities, the holiday is variously observed in place of Columbus Day or along with it.
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Origin of Indigenous Peoples' Day

First recorded in 1990–95

Words nearby Indigenous Peoples' Day

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a US holiday that honors and celebrates the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and their history and culture.

There is a similar but separate holiday in Canada known as National Indigenous Peoples Day.  

Observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the US often involves celebratory cultural and educational events. The day is also often used as a time to acknowledge the history of colonialism and its devastating impact on Indigenous Peoples in the Americas (and around the world), notably the acts of genocide and systemic oppression by white European colonizers and subsequently the U.S. and Canadian governments—and the persisting mistreatment and inequalities rooted in this history.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is observed on the same date that Columbus Day has traditionally been observed on. The establishment of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and its placing on this day grew out of the objection to the celebration of Christopher Columbus due to his role in colonization and its history of oppression. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is often viewed as a replacement of Columbus Day, and in many places its observance has officially replaced that of Columbus Day.

When is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is observed each year on the second Monday in October.

In 2022, Indigenous Peoples’ Day will take place on October 10. In 2023, it will take place on October 9.

In Canada, the holiday known as National Indigenous Peoples Day is observed each year on June 21.

More information and context on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous Peoples’ Day grew out of calls for such a holiday by Indigenous communities and advocates, including a proposal by Indigenous leaders at a United Nations conference in 1977. In the 1980s, many Native Americans began to protest the celebration of Columbus Day, which officially became a US federal holiday in 1968 (it was first made a nationwide observance by presidential proclamation in 1937). Among the first times that Columbus Day was replaced with a day honoring Native Peoples occurred in South Dakota in 1990. In 1992, Native Americans in California organized a day known as Indigenous Peoples Day in opposition to plans to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s landing in the Americas. Indigenous Peoples’ Day has since been adopted as an official observance in many states (either as a replacement of or alongside Columbus Day).

The word Indigenous is now often capitalized as a marker of identity, as is the word Peoples in Indigenous Peoples.  

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

How is Indigenous Peoples’ Day discussed in real life?

Many people observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day in replacement of Columbus Day in acknowledgement of the history of oppression against Indigenous Peoples. A similar holiday in Canada is called National Indigenous Peoples Day.


Try using Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

True or False?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is always observed on the second Monday in October.

How to use Indigenous Peoples' Day in a sentence