D&Sdocs: Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous demonstrators at IDPNYC ’19 gathered at Randall’s Island Park.

Article by Catherine Chojnowski
Documentary by Catherine Chojnowski and Ricardo Vargas

Hundreds of people gathered at Randall’s Island Park on Columbus Day weekend for the fifth annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration. The event aimed to bring awareness to a national movement to have Columbus Day changed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in New York and to have all the monuments dedicated to Christopher Columbus permanently removed.

Indigenous people from around the world came to celebrate and share their culture and traditions with both native and non-native attendees. The celebration featured indigenous speakers, performers and dancers representing various indigenous tribes in what attendees described as a display of culture, resilience and resistance.

Protestors at The Fourth Annual Anti-Columbus Day Tour marched on top of what they call “stolen land.”

The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration was followed by the fourth annual Anti-Columbus Day Tour, a walking protest organized by Decolonize This Place, an action-based organization promoting indigenous rights, as well as other humanitarian causes. Decolonize This Place, along with over a dozen grassroots organizations, gathered at the steps on the Museum of Natural History to voice the following demands: “Rename the Day, Respect the Ancestor, and Remove the Statue.” Protesters then took to the streets and marched through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum.