Well-being

What does Indigenous Peoples' Day have to do with foster youth?

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Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

For the second year in a row, it is recognized as a federal holiday in the United States.

What you may not know is why Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated and how it’s connected to Native youth in foster care today.

  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day seeks to recognize the resilience, sovereignty and contributions of Native people through history to present day.
  • The US has a long history of forcibly separating Native children from their families and attempting to erase Native families, communities and tribes.
  • The Indian Child Welfare Act was passed to prevent further separation and is currently being threatened in the Supreme Court.
  • Take action to elevate #LivedExperienceVoices of Native youth who have experienced foster care.


Indigenous Peoples’ Day & Columbus Day
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated on the same day as Columbus Day. Columbus Day recognizes contributions of Italian Americans to the United States, beginning by acknowledging Columbus’ departure for the Americas. While recognizing these contributions, we must also recognize that beginning when Columbus “discovered” the Americas and continuing for centuries, Indigenous people have been violently removed from ancestral lands and faced multiple coordinated attempts to erase their culture, community, language, and families. Indigenous Peoples’ Day seeks to recognize the resilience, sovereignty and contributions of Native people through history to present day.

Impact on Young People in Foster Care
Throughout our country’s history, the United States government forcibly separated Indian children from their families through boarding schools, foster care and adoptions in an attempt to erase Native families, tribes and communities. The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) became law in 1978; the law was designed to prevent further separation of Native children from their family, culture and tribes and address the harms and long-standing practices of removal. ICWA has provided a path for many young people to maintain their family, culture and tribal connections; still, disparities remain. ICWA is also being currently threatened by challenges brought to the Supreme Court. Currently, Native youth experience higher rates of removal from their families and are overrepresented in foster care. To do better, we must listen to Native young people and their families about what is needed.

What can you do to support Native foster youth on Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

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