Resources for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Many have learned the phrase, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. But Columbus was not the first foreign explorer to land in the Americas, and neither he nor those who came before him discovered America—because Indigenous Peoples have populated the Western Hemisphere for tens of thousands of years. 

Celebrating Columbus and other explorers like him dismisses the devastating losses experienced by Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere in the past and the ongoing effects of colonialism today.

In 2019, joined by Wabanaki tribal leaders and representatives, Governor Janet Mills signed legislation to establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Maine. It is now celebrated on the second Monday of October recognizing the resilience and diversity of Indigenous Peoples instead of honoring Columbus.

Now we ask ourselves, what does it mean to honor Indigenous People?  See below for resources for educators, parents, and those in the education community.

Local Impact (Dawnland specific)

Resource Type Title/Link  
Statement Maine Memo — The importance of Indigenous People’s Day (Office of the UMO President)
Statement Indigenous Peoples’ Day statement (City of Lewiston)
Statement/article Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Maine Audubon)
Article Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the Dawnland (Freeport Historical Society)
Statement/article Indigenous Peoples’ Day/Native American Day Eradicate Columbus Day October 9, 2023 (USET)  
Article Multiple Events Planned in Celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Healthy Acadia)


Global Impact (all Indigenous)

Resource Type Title/Link  
Fact sheet/article Who are indigenous peoples?
Statement/declaration United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Publication The Role of Indigenous Peoples in Biodiversity Conservation
Lesson Plan Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IllumiNative)  
Article Indigenous storytellers share scary stories and the wisdom they hold (CBC)  
Video Indigenous Peoples’ Day | All About the Holidays (PBS)  
Video The word Indigenous — explained l CBC Kids News  
Sample lesson plans Lesson Plans (Whose Land) 3 lesson plans: k-5, middle, high school
Article Cultural Appropriation: What’s an Educator’s Role? (PBS Teachers Lounge)  

Why not Columbus Day?

Resource Type Title/Link  
Collection/case study Abolish Columbus Day: Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples (Zinn Education Project)
Article/lesson preview The People vs.

Columbus, et al. (Zinn Education Project)

Handout Unlearning Columbus Day Myths: Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Article Why more people are celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day | PBS NewsHour