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Indigenous Peoples Day 2023: Nashville Insights

Indigenous Peoples' Day, an alternative to Columbus Day, is a day to honor Native Americans' history and culture. It is not yet a federal holiday, but efforts are being made to change that. The Native American Indian Association of Tennessee will hold a pow wow to celebrate and showcase Native American culture.

Christopher Columbus, the renowned explorer we learn about in elementary school, is the subject of a famous poem. However, we now know that the narrative of Columbus bravely sailing the ocean and 'discovering' America is far from accurate. Native peoples had already inhabited the Americas long before Columbus arrived.

While Columbus is celebrated on Columbus Day, many states also recognize and celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day. This day is dedicated to honoring and celebrating the rich history and culture of Native Americans.

Indigenous Peoples' Day falls on the second Monday in October and serves as an alternative to Columbus Day. Columbus Day has faced criticism for glorifying someone responsible for the enslavement, mistreatment, and genocide of indigenous groups.

Although Indigenous Peoples' Day is recognized as an official holiday nationwide, it has not yet become a federal holiday. President Joe Biden acknowledges the resilience and survival of Indigenous peoples, their commitment to self-governance, and their determination to preserve their cultures and ways of life.

Recently, a bill was reintroduced to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day as a federal holiday. This act aims to recognize the injustices in American history and uplift the traditions, history, and culture of all Indigenous communities.

In Nashville, the Metro Council passed a resolution on October 3, 2017, declaring the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day. This resolution was sponsored by former Councilmember Brett Withers and co-sponsored by other councilmembers and Mayor Freddie O'Connell.

To celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day, the Native American Indian Association of Tennessee will host the 42nd annual Indian Education Tennessee Pow Wow at Long Hunter State Park from October 20-22. A pow wow is a gathering of American Indians featuring dancing, singing, and honoring their ancestors. It provides an opportunity to experience the culture firsthand.

At the pow wow, attendees can admire Native American arts and crafts, including paintings, jewelry, pottery, and clothing. They can also enjoy music, observe traditional dances, play games, and savor Native American cuisine such as 'Indian tacos', chili, hominy, and fry bread.

Tickets for the pow wow can be purchased at the gate with cash only, ranging from $4 to $8.

When attending a pow wow, it is important to remember that these events are sacred and involve ceremonial songs and dances.

In conclusion, Indigenous Peoples' Day serves as a meaningful alternative to Columbus Day, honoring the rich history and culture of Native Americans. Celebrations and events like the Indian Education Tennessee Pow Wow provide opportunities to learn, appreciate, and support Indigenous communities.

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