Activists protest as US marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Good morning, US live blog readers. It’s a federal holiday in the US today so conventional politics on Capitol Hill and at the White House is slow-moving. But it is Indigenous People’s Day and there is a lot going on and being said in relation to this across the country, so we’ll be looking into that.
If readers have any interesting items to flag or comment on, please feel free to tweet me today @JoannaWalters13.
One of the main news developments is that protests are kicking off, led by US indigenous activists, demanding more action on the climate crisis a it affects the whole country and planet but also specifically Native American lands. Here’s what’s going on:
Native American leaders and tribal members from across the country are in Washington for five days of protests beginning today, the Washington Post reports. The demonstrations are “part of People v Fossil Fuels protests by a coalition of groups, known as Build Back Fossil Free, who are demanding that the Biden administration take more extreme actions to curb carbon-producing fossil-fuel projects at a time when scientists say the world needs to sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions.”
The federal holiday is traditionally, officially dedicated to Christopher Columbus, a situation which highlights the sharp divide between what the Associated Press reports are “those who view the explorer as a representative of Italian American history and others horrified by an annual tribute that ignores native people whose lives and culture were forever changed by colonialism. Spurred by national calls for racial equity, communities across the US took a deeper look at Columbus’ legacy in recent years – pairing or replacing it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
Interior secretary Deb Haaland is running the Boston Marathon today (the first time the event is being held since 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic) and tweeted that: “As I run today’s Boston Marathon on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I will carry with me my ancestors who gave me the ability to run.” Haaland marked on Friday the government’s order to restore National Monument protections to, among other places, Bears Ears in Utah, which is steeped in Native history and which Donald Trump tried to shrink in area. Haaland spoke alongside Joe Biden, who issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.