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Indigenous Peoples' Day

Indigenous Peoples' Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities. It began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.

It is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate our diversity, and recall that we are a nation of immigrants. Indigenous peoples across the world preserve rich cultures made up of art, music, dance, spirituality, and language which has often been overlooked, and indeed, subject to attempts to destroy them.

We pray:

Creator, you bent the earth like a bow until it was one, round, shining planet. At your word the land was drawn into mountains and tundra, forests and prairies; the waters were gathered together into rivers, lakes and seas. Many times, when people crossed these seas from other lands they broke the circle of your creation by their greed and violence and they shattered the lives of others. Creator, renew the circle of the earth and turn the hearts of all people to one another; that they and all the earth may live and be drawn toward you through the love of Jesus Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit in the circle of the Trinity, forever One. Amen

(A Prayer to the Four Directions, adapted and revised from the prayer used at the National Cathedral, DC in A Celebration of Native American Survival Service, 1992)

"Ways to Celebrate" (opens in the Smithsonian Museum website)


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