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Indigenous Peoples' Day resources

Commentary Photo by T Harper

Photo by T Harper

Today marks Oregon’s first official celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day. Earlier this year, the Oregon legislation created this new state holiday to recognize the significant contributions of tribal nations.

For too long, textbooks have glorified colonization and promoted harmful stereotypes and misinformation about indigenous peoples, their history and culture. This is one of the forms of oppression Indigenous people have suffered.

Oregon took an important step in correcting this wrong by establishing a K-12 Native American Curriculum. Hopefully, Oregon children will grow up knowing about the original cultures and peoples of this land, which endure to this day.

Like many of you, OCPP is on a journey to better understand our nation and state’s racial history, present-day inequities, the strengths and contributions of our communities of color, and the policies that will lead us to a state where all Oregonians can flourish. So, with a humble spirit, and with the aim to do our part in making Indigenous Peoples' Day a moment of recognition and celebration, we offer the following resources.

Learn about this land

Whose ancestral land are you standing on? Learn who first inhabited the land you occupy and of the history and culture of these peoples:

Elevate this vibrant culture

Our perception and portrayal of Indigenous people often fails to convey the vibrant, living culture of indigenous people today. Check out these resources:

Return the land

The arrival of Europeans to the American continent, and of white settlers to the Oregon Territory, meant the displacement of Indigenous peoples. But right now, from churches to land trusts, we are witnessing the return of land to tribes. Some examples:

  • Ohlone rebuilding their homeland
  • Church returns land to Nez Perce
  • Big Sur land returned to Esselen

  • Give

    Pay a land tax to the tribe whose ancestral lands you reside upon:

  • Chinook Nation
  • CA East Bay/Lisjan Ohlone
  • Real Rent Duwamish

  • Engage

    Here are a few ways that you can engage on Indigenous Peoples’ Day:

    Learn some more

    There is so much happening and so much to learn. Here are some interesting reads and resources:

    We can’t change history and erase past injustices, but we can learn from our mistakes, acknowledge the displacement and erasure of Oregon’s Indigenous people, and move forward in healing the pain of those past wrongs. We can work toward a more just and equitable present and future. And that journey beings with learning about our history and present context.