This Monday, Hesperian did not observe Columbus Day. Our organization made a conscious decision to not honor the holiday, not reinforce the misinformation that Columbus’ “discovered” the Americas, and not celebrate the violence and genocide that followed.
Instead of taking a day off, we are paying attention to the health and human rights challenges Indigenous people face in North America and globally.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Girls and Women
As the story of Gabby Petito’s murder dominated the news cycle a few weeks ago, many Indigenous activists pointed out that Native women are murdered at 10 times the national average. Their cases rarely receive any media attention at all and there is seldom any justice for the women or healing for their loved ones.
Learn more about the history of this crisis here.
Stop the Line 3 Pipeline!
Line 3 is proposed to carry some of the dirtiest oil produced from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. The pipeline will inevitably leak, as all pipelines do — polluting water that is necessary to human and natural life. Additionally, “Line 3 would violate the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe peoples and nations in its path” and threaten the culturally and economically important wild rice watersheds that Line 3 would cross.
Name Changes! Some positive news: The famed ski resort, formerly known as “Squaw Valley”, changed its name to Palisades Tahoe. Other places in North America, such as the recently renamed Anû Kathâ Îpa or Bald Eagle Peak, have also removed the derogatory term from their names.
Land Back! In what is known as Australia, the town of Jabiru was returned to the Mirarr people. Likewise, several national parks have been returned to Aboriginal peoples, including Daintree Rainforest. Blues Beach in Mendocino County, California was also returned to local tribes in September.
Many of these land returns have taken years for tribes and governments to plan and organize. Learn more about the land back movement here.