Indigenous Peoples' Day marked in Tri-State with celebrations, school lessons

Indigenous Peoples' Day was celebrated on Randall's Island on Monday
Indigenous Peoples' Day was celebrated on Randall's Island on Monday. Photo credit @ipdnyc/Instagram

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Monday was marked by many in the Tri-State as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, with celebrations being held and some schools staying open to offer special lessons.

At the Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City, instead of taking the day off, students learned about the culture and history of Indigenous people.

First-grade teacher Felicia Henderson, who helped put together lessons themed around Indigenous people, said the day was about accepting differences.

“Really just understanding that, yes, there were people who were on this land first, and it’s important for us to acknowledge those people,” she said.

Among Henderson’s lessons was “Native Night Skies,” in which students learned about how constellations got their names and listened to the story of a Native storyteller.

On Randall’s Island, Native people from across the region came to celebrate with music, food and performances.

“Give prayer, giving thanks to the survival of their traditions, their culture,” said Cliff Matias with the Redhawk Native American Arts Council.

“We have to, as Americans, understand that Indigenous people, Native Americans, First Nations people, Aboriginal people define America,” Matias said.

He said Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an answer to Columbus Day, which was also being marked Monday with an annual parade in Manhattan.

“Indigenous Peoples’ Day is honoring the survival of Indigenous people, despite Columbus, despite colonization of the Americas,” Matias said.

Featured Image Photo Credit: @ipdnyc/Instagram