7 Ways to Honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Florida and Beyond

Statue of Miccosukee leader Sam Jones (Ar-pi-uck-i or Abiaka) leading women and children to safety at Pine Island Ridge Natural Area. Image via Shutterstock.

By Cynthia De Saint

October 7, 2022

For only the second year, Indigenous Peoples’ Day will be marked as an officially recognized holiday across the US.

For Native Americans, Columbus Day—which takes place the second Monday of October—was always a painful reminder of the 500 years of colonial oppression by European explorers like Columbus and others who settled in America. So in 1977, the first seed of Indigenous Peoples’ Day was planted at a United Nations international conference, gaining momentum year by year.

Decades later, President Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” Biden wrote in the 2021 proclamation. “Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”

While Florida does not formally celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day—or Columbus Day, for that matter—there are still ways you can honor the The Ancient Ones of Florida—the Ais, Apalachee, Calusa, Hororo, Mayaca, Timucua, and Tocobaga—and celebrate our Native peoples of today, the Seminole and the Miccosukee. 

Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day—or Native American Heritage Month in November—at one of these great events.

Indigenous Peoples Day 2022. Partnering with the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, the City of Gainesville will formally read the proclamation that officially renamed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day at City Hall on Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. Then on Saturday, Oct. 15, a celebration will be held to showcase the Potano/Timucuan people that called the Gainesville area home. The event will be held at Morningside Nature Center. Visit HERE for more information.

Forever Home Pow Wow. A celebration of Native Culture as well as an honoring of veterans and elders past and present, the event will be held Oct. 12-13, in Glen, Lake City. Visit HERE for more information. 

Silverhawk Native American Flute Gathering 2022. It’s a feast for the senses with flute and dodge players, storytellers, singers, an 1800s settlement, trails through the woods along the river, and more. Oct. 15 -16 in Dade City. Visit HERE for more information. 

Field Trip to Pinellas Point Park. Before the Europeans arrived, this was the site for Indigenous Peoples’ communities, and contains remnants of their existence still. There are over 1,000 native plants in plant islands throughout the Park. The event will take place Nov. 5 at Pinellas Point Park in St. Petersburg. Visit HERE for more information. 

Indigenous Peoples Heritage Day at the Lighthouse. Travel back in time to explore the captivating history of Volusia County’s Indigenous Peoples. It takes place Nov. 19, at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse in Ponce Inlet. Visit HERE for more information. 

14th Annual Native Rhythms Festival. Presented by the Brevard Cultural Alliance, this three-day family-friendly event celebrates and honors Native American Heritage Month with award-winning performers and artists, exhibitions, and workshops. It runs from Nov. 11 through 13th in Melbourne. Visit HERE for more information. 

7 Ways to Honor Indigenous Peoples' Day in Florida and Beyond
Photo via Native Rhythms Festival Facebook

Hike the Pine Island Ridge Trail in Broward County.

Located north of Orange Drive and west of Pine Island Road in the Town of Davie, the ridge was once the homesite for both the Tequesta and Seminole Indians. The area was also the site of an important battle during the Second Seminole War fought in 1838. Visit HERE for more information.

Host your very own film festival centering Native culture.

Movies are a great way to learn about what other human beings experience and live through, so what better way to get to know the lives, loves, hopes and cares of Natives than watching a good film with the whole family? Movie night can be followed with a group discussion of how the film affected everyone, and what each learned about the culture depicted in the story.

Here are some suggestions:

Songs My Brother Taught Me

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

Shouting Secrets

Powwow Highway

Read works by Indigenous authors.

Reading books by Indigenous authors is an especially good way to honor the occasion and gain more knowledge, insight, and empathy about the culture. Sharing these works with everyone in your family or your book club is a good way to promote its authors. 

Here are some suggestions:

Poet Warrior: A Memoir by Joy Harjo

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie

Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World by Tyson Yunkaporta

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Educate yourself by taking a virtual field trip.

Learn about Native peoples’ rich history and art with a virtual tour of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), an active and visible component of the Smithsonian Institution. The NMAI cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native artifacts covering the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. It operates three facilities—in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Suitland, Maryland—but you can view some of its wonders when you visit the NAMI online. The National Museum of the American Indian also hosts annual webinars to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Support organizations working to share the history of Native groups.

Supporting organizations that are dedicated to advocacy, education, and sharing the history of Native Americans is a great way to honor their legacy and their present contributions. Consider donating to any of these organizations that support Indigenous advocacy and education:

American Indian College Fund

American Indian Association of Florida

Center for Native American Youth

First Nations Development Institute 

Native American Heritage Association

Give back to the Earth and plant heirloom seeds.

Many Indigenous people rely on natural resources to create holistic remedies. Honor Native American culture by growing your own herbs at home, and at the same time help repatriate ancient, often nearly extinct plants that were important to Indigenous tribes when you purchase them from  The Alliance of Native Seedkeepers.




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