By Celine Doblon, PBS SoCal Marketing and Communications intern
Today, (Monday October 8), Los Angeles officially celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day for the first time since the motion passed last year to rename the Columbus Day holiday. The controversial motion sparked plenty of heated debates in the Los Angeles City Council and the LA County Board of Supervisors, but ultimately the proposal was approved by both bodies.
Many advocates for the name change disagreed with the celebration of Christopher Columbus, whose influence in the West, they said, brought violence and oppression towards Native people. The new holiday honors the contributions made by indigenous people throughout history.
Indigenous Peoples Day is a locally recognized holiday, but Columbus Day is a federal holiday, so what does this mean?
Most banks and the bond market are closed, but financial markets are open. City, county and federal offices, libraries and superior courts are closed but state offices, including the DMV, are open. If you’re expecting mail from the post office, unfortunately the U.S. Postal Service does not deliver on this holiday. Most schools are open, and if you commute using buses, Metrolink, or subway services, you’re in luck; they’re still running on a regular schedule.
So, how should I enjoy the holiday?
The City of Los Angeles is also holding an inaugural day-long celebration of the event held at the Civic Center in DTLA. The event will feature a sunrise ceremony, 5K run, parade of nations, Native American powwow, panel sessions on trending topics related to Native Americans and the community, a fashion show, and a grand finale that will include performances by the Black Eyed Peas, and critically acclaimed Native American rock group Redbone.
If you’re staying home for the holiday, here are some streaming* suggestions:
Our new program Native America doesn’t start for a couple weeks, but there are some great short videos already available to check out. Little Dream Catchers is an episode of America Reframed that brings us to a kindergarten in Minnesota to learn how the students learn about their Native American ethnicity. In Between Worlds, an episode of Learners, we meet Brittany, a high school student who faces the challenge of being torn between two worlds: her Navajo reservation, and her school in New Mexico.
If something feature-length is more your style, check out Medicine Woman, a film about Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte—America’s first Native doctor. Prefer something fiction? Film School Short, Bloodlines follows a Native American family’s challenges as they try to build a life.
*All programs are available streaming here on our website, and on the PBS app.