Boston Recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Sofia Andronico, contributor

On Wednesday, October 6, 2021, Boston Mayor Kim Janey signed an executive order declaring the second Monday of October Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In a press conference, after signing the declaration, Janey described its importance by saying, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrates the rich cultural legacies of our Indigenous communities while also declaring Boston is ready to work with our neighbors to create a more just future.”

Members of the United American Indians of New England (UAINE), the North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB), and the Massachusett Tribe were all represented and able to speak at the signing of the order.

“Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an important step towards addressing the lived experiences of many residents and building trust between municipalities and Indigenous nations,” said Executive Director of NAICOB, Raquel Halsey.

In addition to the Massachusett Tribe, Boston lies on land previously belonging to several other Indigenous groups, including the Nipmuc Nation and the Wampanoag Tribe. The Nipmuc Nation posted a few quotes from Janey’s press conference on Instagram, adding in the caption that “Boston joins over two dozen communities in Massachusetts…and a handful of states, like Vermont and Maine, that celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in lieu of Columbus Day!”

As of right now, 10 states recognize the second Monday in October as a variation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, according to CNN. The other 40, including Massachusetts, have not passed legislation to change the name. However, one movement, Indigenous Peoples’ Day MA, continues to push for the state to make the change: “Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of what’s currently known as ‘Columbus Day’ is a way to correct false histories, honor Indigenous peoples, and begin to correct some of the countless wrongs committed against Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (what’s now known as the Americas).”