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The Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to fully understand the legacy of Christopher Columbus, just as it calls us to respect and learn from indigenous peoples and support their struggles for social justice and religious freedom. Join Unitarian Universalists across the United States in honoring Indigenous Peoples Day.
"Indigenous Peoples Day" reimagines Columbus Day and changes a celebration of colonialism into an opportunity to reveal historical truths about the genocide and oppression of indigenous peoples in the Americas, to organize against current injustices, and to celebrate indigenous resistance.
The idea of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day was born in 1977, at a U.N.-sponsored conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on discrimination against indigenous populations in the Americas. Fourteen years later, activists in Berkeley, CA, convinced the Berkeley City Council to declare October 12 a "Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People." Henceforth, there has been a growing movement to appropriate "Columbus Day" as "Indigenous People's Day"; states such as South Dakota, Hawai’i, and Alabama have changed the holiday’s name and many more cities have taken similar action. Read more about the history of Berkeley’s Indigenous Peoples Day.
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has passed many resolutions on Native peoples' rights since the 1970s. In 1993, the General Assembly passed a resolution on Justice for Indigenous Peoples, where the UUA resolved to learn from indigenous peoples about the richness of their cultures and about the problems and issues they face, support local indigenous peoples' political action committees in their struggles for social justice and religious freedom, and act individually and through coalitions to respect and support indigenous peoples in preserving their cultural pride and heritage and in protecting their natural resources.
In 2007, the General Assembly passed a resolution on Truth, Repair, and Reconciliation, where the UUA resolved to uncover our links and complicity with the genocide of native peoples and with all types of racial, ethnic, and cultural oppression, past and present, toward the goal of accountability through acknowledgment, apology, repair, and reconciliation.
In 2012, the General Assembly passed a resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery, where the UUA resolved to expose the historical reality and impact of the Doctrine and eliminate its presence in the contemporary policies, programs, theologies, and structures of Unitarian Universalism; to invite indigenous partners to a process of Honor and Healing (often called Truth and Reconciliation); and to call on the United States to fully implement the standards of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the U.S. law and policy without qualifications.
To more fully recognize these and our many other resolutions on the rights of Native peoples, Unitarian Universalist staff and headquarters now recognize Indigenous Peoples Day as an official holiday in place of Columbus Day—as suggested by George Tinker in his chapter in the book Soul Work.
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Last updated on Thursday, September 26, 2013.
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