Watching from afar is not how Annie Fabian ’22 felt she could best honor Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, October 12.
“Seeing everyone come together and support Black Lives Matter was so powerful and inspiring but I realized that there were still many other oppressed people of color in our country, specifically Native Americans,” said Fabian.
That empathy is what prompted her to do more. “I started donating to organizations that support American Indians,“ she said. Another contribution? Fabian made a heartfelt presentation in support of the holiday at the Upper School’s Morning Meeting on Thursday, October 8.
Fabian shared background and insight into some of the historical injustices people of color, including Native Americans, have faced since President Benjamin Harrison proposed Columbus Day in 1892 as a celebration of Christopher Columbus. “It is clear that the officials at the time were celebrating the ‘accomplishments’ of a man whose European colonization had resulted in the genocide of many of the indigenous people of America, and that the officials themselves were continuing to uphold a legacy of oppression, abusing the people of color in their country,” she added.
In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage, Native Americans in Berkeley, California, organized the first Indigenous Peoples Day.
According to Fabian, observing this day and bringing awareness to the story and culture of indigenous people is a start. “Obviously, we are still nowhere near where we need to be as a country in aiding our Native American brothers, sisters, and others, but as long as we continue to acknowledge our faults and consciously make reparations, we’re on the right track.”