Indigenous People's Day (also known as Native American Day) is a holiday celebrated in various localities in the United States, begun as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day. The purpose of the day is to promote Native American culture and commemorate the history of Native American peoples. The celebration began in Berkeley, California as an alternative to Columbus Day, which is listed as a federal holiday in the United States but is not observed as a state holiday in every state. Indigenous People's Day is usually held on the second Monday of October, coinciding with federal observance of Columbus Day.
The idea of replacing Columbus Day with a day celebrating the indigenous people of North America first arose in 1977 from the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1990, at the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador in July 1990, representatives of Indian groups throughout the Americas agreed that they would mark 1992, the 500th anniversary of the first of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, as a day to promote "continental unity" and "liberation".
(... from Wikipedia on 2012-04-17 11:47:12)