Today, our team at NPI is observing two holidays: Canadian Thanksgiving and Indigenous Peoples Day, both of which fall on the second Monday in October.
Unlike in the United States, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated closer to harvest time. In its modern incarnation, dating back to 1957, it is celebrated in gratefulness for a bountiful harvest. (The United States, meanwhile, still has a month and a couple weeks to go before its Thanksgiving holiday will arrive.)
“Today, as we mark Thanksgiving, Canadians across the country will gather with friends and family to celebrate the abundance of harvest season and send our gratitude to the people who helped us when we needed it most this past year,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement.
“This year, Canadians had each other’s backs, like we always do in tough times.”
“As we saw firsthand the increasingly disruptive impacts of climate change, from devastating floods, to hurricanes, to wildfires, we also saw what we can do when we come together as a country.”
“Today, we thank the countless first responders who risked their lives to save others. We recognize the kindness and selflessness of Canadians who stepped up to take in evacuees and provide them with food and shelter.”
“Today, we pay tribute to these heroes, whose efforts exemplify the best of what it means to be Canadian. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving.”
“Today, people in British Columbia and throughout Canada will gather with family, friends and neighbours to celebrate Thanksgiving,” said British Columbia Premier David Eby. “This is a time to give thanks for the fall harvest and the blessing of the past year, and a time to give back to our communities.”
“We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful, peaceful province where people are willing to step up and help their neighbours. This year, that spirit of service has been exemplified by the wildfire personnel, volunteers and residents who have supported the wildfire response and recovery effort.”
“British Columbia is a great place to live, but global inflation and high interest rates have put a lot of pressure on people here and around the world.
“I want to thank all the community organizations that are hosting Thanksgiving dinners this weekend, and everyone who has volunteered in a community kitchen or donated to a food bank.”
“Our government is committed to continuing to address the big challenges people are facing so everyone can build a good life in B.C. This includes several measures to ease the pressure of everyday costs, including a historic $200-million investment to strengthen food supply throughout the province.”
“Today, my family and I will sit down for a meal together and go around the table to share what we’re grateful for. This year, I’m particularly grateful for my wife and kids, who have been an endless source of love and support in my first year as premier, and for the wildfire personnel who have worked tirelessly to protect our province during our worst wildfire season on record. Our hearts are with the families of the six B.C. firefighters who lost their lives this season and everyone who is missing a loved one around the dinner table this year.”
“Thank you to everyone who is making B.C. a better place for others, and happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating.”
Canadian Thanksgiving is not a holiday recognized by the United States government, but that doesn’t mean Americans can’t keep it. If you ask us, the only thing better than Thanksgiving is two Thanksgivings! Every day is a good day to give thanks and enjoy a good meal in the company of family and friends.
Today, we are also celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day, which is recognized by many jurisdictions in the United States in place of Columbus Day.
Indigenous Peoples Day began in Berkeley, California, in 1992, to coincide with the five hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Columbus in the Americas on October 12th, 1492. Santa Cruz started observing it two years later, and it has since been embraced by communities across the United States.
In 2021, Indigenous Peoples Day was commemorated by the United States federal government for the first time thanks to the Biden-Harris administration.
This is the third consecutive year of observance by the federal government — President Biden signed a proclamation marking the day last Friday.
The proclamation reads:
On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor the perseverance and courage of Indigenous peoples, show our gratitude for the myriad contributions they have made to our world, and renew our commitment to respect Tribal sovereignty and self-determination.
The story of America’s Indigenous peoples is a story of their resilience and survival; of their persistent commitment to their right to self-governance; and of their determination to preserve cultures, identities, and ways of life.
Long before European explorers sailed to this continent, Native American and Alaska Native Nations made this land their home, some for thousands of years before the United States was founded. They built many Nations that created powerful, prosperous, and diverse cultures, and they developed knowledge and practices that still benefit us today.
But throughout our Nation’s history, Indigenous peoples have faced violence and devastation that has tested their limits. For generations, it was the shameful policy of our Nation to remove Indigenous peoples from their homelands; force them to assimilate; and ban them from speaking their own languages, passing down ancient traditions, and performing sacred ceremonies.
Countless lives were lost, precious lands were taken, and their way of life was forever changed. In spite of unimaginable loss and seemingly insurmountable odds, Indigenous peoples have persisted. They survived. And they continue to be an integral part of the fabric of the United States.
Today, Indigenous peoples are a beacon of resilience, strength, and perseverance as well as a source of incredible contributions. Indigenous peoples and Tribal Nations continue to practice their cultures, remember their heritages, and pass down their histories from generation to generation. They steward this country’s lands and waters and grow crops that feed all of us. They serve in the United States military at a higher rate than any other ethnic group.
They challenge all of us to celebrate the good, confront the bad, and tell the whole truth of our history. And as innovators, educators, engineers, scientists, artists, and leaders in every sector of society, Indigenous peoples contribute to our shared prosperity.
Their diverse cultures and communities today are a testament to the unshakable and unbreakable commitment of many generations to preserve their cultures, identities, and rights to self-governance. That is why, despite centuries of devastation and turmoil, Tribal Nations continue to thrive and lead in countless ways.
When I came into office, I was determined to usher in a new era in the relationship between the Federal Government and Tribal Nations and to honor the solemn promises the United States made to fulfill our trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations.
That work began by appointing Native Americans to lead on the frontlines of my Administration — from the first Native American Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and dozens of Senate-confirmed Native American officials to the over 80 Native American appointees serving across my Administration and in the Federal courts. I restored the White House Council on Native American Affairs to improve interagency coordination and decision-making as well as the White House Tribal Nations Summit to bring together key members of my Administration and the leaders of hundreds of Tribal Nations.
Last year, I signed a new Presidential Memorandum that creates uniform standards for consultation between the Federal Government and Tribal Nations. And together, we are making historic investments in Indian Country. That includes $32 billion from the American Rescue Plan, the largest one-time direct investment in Indian Country in American history; more than $13 billion to rebuild infrastructure, the single largest investment in Indian Country infrastructure in history; and the biggest investment ever to combat the existential threat of climate change, including $700 million dedicated to climate change response in Native communities.
We are also working to improve public health and safety for Native Americans. That is why I signed an Executive Order that helps us respond more effectively to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples. And when we reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act last year, I was proud to include historic provisions that reaffirm Tribal sovereignty and restore Tribal jurisdiction.
I have also requested a $9.1 billion infusion for Indian Health Services and asked the Congress to make that funding a mandatory part of the Federal budget for the first time in our history.
My Administration will also continue using all the authority available to it, including the Antiquities Act, to protect sacred Tribal lands. We have already restored protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument in New England. I have declared new national monuments at the Camp Hale-Continental Divide in Colorado, Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada, and Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni in Arizona to protect lands that are sacred to so many Tribes. My Administration has also signed at least 20 new co-stewardship agreements with Tribes, and we are working on many more.
As we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, may we renew the enduring soul of our Nation-to-Nation relationships — a spirit of friendship, stewardship, and respect.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 9, 2023, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and the Indigenous peoples who contribute to shaping this Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
If you are in Seattle, there are several opportunities available to participate in Indigenous Peoples Day. Here’s a primer from the City of Seattle.
At the Washington Tribes website, you can learn more about each of the federally recognized tribal communities that have called this region home since time immemorial. There are more than two dozen:
Washington state is home to twenty-nine federally-recognized Indian tribes. Tribal governments are improving people’s lives, Indian and non-Indian alike, in communities from Neah Bay to Usk.
- Learn more about the economic impact of Washington Tribes in the new report: The Economic & Community Benefits of Tribes in Washington.
- Looking for classroom materials about Washington Tribes? Check out our 2018 Washington Indian Tribes Today newspaper insert.
Revenue from gaming and other tribal enterprises is tax revenue for tribal governments. The money is used to create jobs and business opportunities for all Washingtonians.
It helps pay for housing, health care, public safety, environmental/natural resource programs and transportation.
As tribal gaming money flows through the Washington economy, it generates hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues for local and state government. Tribal governments and their enterprises are a major factor in Washington’s economy today – generating more than 30,000 jobs and investing billions of dollars in goods and services, and on capital projects.
View a map of Washington’s federally recognized tribes:
Again, Happy Thanksgiving and Indigenous Peoples Day!