(OPINION) No One in Billings Seems to Have Recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2022
Normally, October 10th in the United States is Columbus Day, but for many Native Americans, Columbus Day is absolutely horrific in nature. Yesterday, President Joe Biden proclaimed today as Indigenous Peoples' Day, a celebration of the lives and culture of Native Americans across the country. Indigenous Peoples' Day isn't anything new either, and groups of Native Americans have been celebrating their culture on October 10th for a while. Normally, here in Billings, they have a celebration. But this year, it seemed noticeably absent. Why?
Events were Held in Bozeman and Missoula
When researching events happening for the holiday in Billings, my search came up empty, but I found that Indigenous Peoples' Day Montana had held events at Dawson Community College and at the new Beartracks Bridge in Missoula. However, there was no such event here in Billings.
So, why didn't Billings have one? We reached out to the President of the People for BIPOC organization, who stated that the city normally holds an event in the old courthouse lawn, but she had no clue why they hadn't done anything this year. It seems like Billings had either forgotten about the holiday, or they didn't bother doing an event at all.
Why is it Important to Recognize?
The biggest reason that Indigenous Peoples' Day falls on October 10th is because it serves to celebrate a more just cause than Columbus Day. Celebrating Native American culture and contributions is a whole lot better than celebrating a man who did nothing but awful things to the Native Caribbean people. I think it's incredibly important we see that as a nation, but only a few folks in Montana recognized the holiday, including the Downtown Billings Alliance and Senator Jon Tester.
This is incredibly disappointing. I certainly hope that we get to see a more inclusive city moving forward, especially when it matters the most.