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Indigenous Peoples Day

Every year on the second Monday of October is Indigenous Peoples day, which was formally known as Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples Day is when Native Americans celebrate their culture and honor those who were killed, enslaved, and died of disease. We celebrate it to recognize our culture and to be thankful that these events of the past are no longer common.

In my culture, I was taught that we respect, love, and care for anyone that is grieving. I think it is important for our youth in Alaska to know about the people who originally owned this land. You might ask "It was so long ago, why does it still matter?" Well, the native people still face problems. For example, in some reservations in the lower 48, the government does not help with things like clean drinking water. That is a big problem, and it would be helpful for those who cannot afford bottled water if the federal government were to provide proper plumbing.

Another really big issue is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Men (MMIWM). This is the term for native people who are missing or murdered, and the government does not help search for native people as thoroughly as they did for the Gabby Petito case. If all of the MMIWM cases had as much media coverage as she did who knows how many could have been found. An article from the Native Women's Wilderness says "Indigenous Women [...] (are) murdered 10x higher than all other ethnicities," as well as "murder is the 3rd leading cause of death for Indigenous Women".

Even though there were traumatic events in the past, and we still have battles to fight today, Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to celebrate our heritage and to be proud of who we are.

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