UW Combined Fund Drive

October 10, 2021

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

This year, October 11 marks a day of recognition for North America’s original inhabitants and their rich culture and lives. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is recognized in the United States on the second day Monday in October – the same day as Columbus Day, which in recent years has become increasingly controversial.

For many Indigenous people, it is important to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and remember the past 500 years when innumerable Native Americans suffered injustice and oppression by European explorers and settlers.

It is for this reason that generations of Native Americans have protested Columbus Day, including members of the UW community in 2007 who claimed that Columbus Day is “a tradition celebrating genocide”, favoring elimination of the federal holiday and replacing it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  

Several states, cities and districts have adopted the transition of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day since the latter’s inception in 1977 at the United Nations International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas. It is a start to help support the Coast Salish community whose land we share. Education and awareness is one of our greatest tools we have at our disposal.

Which states recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

South Dakota was the first state to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1990, while individual cities have had their own official celebrations for decades. Since Washington state doesn’t recognize Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day doesn’t replace it, nor is Indigenous Peoples’ Day an official city holiday — just a day to honor Native people. The following states all recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wisconsin

Learn More

Audit a class with UW’s Office of Minority Affairs 

Visit a natural history museum: UW’s very own Burke Museum curates an impressive gallery of Northwest Native art, as well as a collection of Indigenous artifacts that one can watch museology experts curate through glass partitions.  

Attend an event: Seattle’s Indigenous People Festival will be held virtually from October 12th – 15th 


Consider making a one-time contribution or setting up payroll deduction to one of our CFD member organizations working with and for Indigenous communities in our region:

Duwamish Tribe (charity code 0337178): In 1983, after more than 100 years of broken United States treaty promises, the Dkhw’Duw’Absh established Duwamish Tribal Services as a non-profit 501[C]3 organization to provide social and cultural services to the Duwamish Tribal community.

Native American Rights Fund (charity code 0316272): Provides legal representation to Native American tribes, organizations, and individuals in cases of national significance involving tribal sovereignty, natural resources and human rights.  

Red Eagle Soaring Native American Theatre Group (charity code 0315118): Founded in 1991 to produce and support traditional and contemporary Native American performing arts. Its highest priority purpose is to serve the youth of the Seattle/King County Native American/Alaskan Native Community. 

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (charity code 1480408): Works to substantially increase American Indian/Alaska Native representation in science, technology, engineering, and math STEM as students, professionals, mentors, and leaders.  

American Indian Youth Running Strong Inc (charity code 0524368): Assists American Indian families with food, water, basic relief and support services for needy families including programs fostering self-reliance. 

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House (charity code 1481183): is a longhouse-style facility on the UW Seattle campus. It provides a multi-service learning and gathering space for American Indian and Alaska Native students, faculty and staff, as well as others from various cultures and communities to come together in a welcoming environment to share knowledge.

United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (charity code 0316536): We provide culturally appropriate social, educational, employment, and cultural services to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and others in need throughout the Puget Sound region, and host Native arts and cultural events open to the everyone.

The University of Washington Combined Fund Drive acknowledges that we live and work on the traditional territories of the Duwamish and Coast Salish peoples and that we occupy this land. While we recognize that this acknowledgement does not replace authentic relationships with Indigenous communities, we hope that it honors with gratitude the land and the original inhabitants.
Explore additional UWCFD resources for Indigenous communities.