Indigenous Peoples' Day 2022
Published: October 10, 2022
On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor America’s first inhabitants and the Tribal Nations that continue to thrive today. The contributions that Indigenous peoples have made throughout history — in public service, business, education, science, and the arts, among other fields — are integral to our country, our culture, and our society. It is also a day to recognize that there were indigenous people here long before European settlers ever set foot in the Americas, and it is a day to honor that rich history.
For some current context:
- As of 2020, 14 U.S. States and more than 130 cities recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day! In 2021, Gov. Abbott signed a state resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October.
- There are currently over 600 Native Nations in the U.S., and 6.8 million Americans identify as Native American (approximately 2% of the U.S. population).
- According to the 2010 US Census, approximately 1.1% of Texans identify as Native American
- There are three federally recognized tribes that still have reservations in Texas: the Alabama-Coushatta, Tigua, and Kickapoo.
- The state of Texas recognizes the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas, which has its headquarters in McAllen.
A Greater Celebration
Commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an excellent first step in honoring and recognizing the contributions of Native Americans and their rich histories and cultures, but there are many other ways you can make a difference:
- Learn about land acknowledgements and help your organization(s) develop and share a land acknowledgement statement if they have not already done so.
- Read about the history, culture, and current state of affairs with regard to indigenous peoples. Two books worth noting are Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health and The People’s History of the United States.
- Attend events that celebrate and honor the culture and heritage of Native Americans, such as the Austin Powwow and American Indian Heritage Festival on November 12.
Engage in research to promote public health among Native American communities. There are several public health researchers doing excellent work in this field, including Dr. Christine Markham, Professor and Chair of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at UTSPH:
- NATIVE-It's Your Game: Adapting a Technology-Based Sexual Health Curriculum for American Indian and Alaska Native youth
- The Impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of Educational Programs in Native American Communities: Qualitative Study
You can also find more information on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Indian Health Service and the CDC’s Healthy Tribes program.