On Monday, October 9, the Native American Initiative (NAI), Nuestra Casa, and their partners celebrated Indigenous People’s Day. In this inaugural East Palo Alto Indigenous People’s Day event, approximately 80 guests joined the organizers in celebrating and learning about indigenous healing practices and views of wellness.
While the event was enjoyed by all attendees, the acknowledgement of Indigenous People’s Day is controversial for many Americans. Though the documented atrocities of Columbus’s landing are hard to deny, many feel that Columbus paved the way for the United States of America to exist which is itself worthy of celebration. The Native American Initiative has welcomed conversation on this topic. Last year, BHRS teams invited the NAI to join staff meetings and discuss the importance of indigenous experiences and acknowledging Indigenous People’s Day. What began as controversy became an opportunity for exchange and shared understanding.