City of Houston now celebrating 'Indigenous People's Day'

Houston is making history today.  For the first time, our city is celebrating Indigenous People's Day.

Since the 1930's this day has been celebrated as Columbus Day, a federal holiday but when South Dakota renamed the day back in 1990 to honor Indigenous People, 14 states and over 130 cities began to follow suit.


Now Houston is among those celebrating Indigenous People's Day.

"Houston is the most diverse city in the country, yet we don't recognize or celebrate the histories and cultures of Indigenous People, yet they were here in the Americas for thousands of years before Christopher Columbus," says Houston City Councilman Robert Gallegos.

It's for that reason Houston City Council voted to celebrate Indigenous People's Day on what traditionally is Columbus Day.


"14 of 16 council members approved it, the resolution. So today is the first official day here in Houston to celebrate Indigenous People's Day," explains Gallegos.

"I'm Navajo through my mother. I'm indigenous to the U.S. For us and my family this day was like finally," says 19-year-old Celine Pineda.
"I've kind of been using this day to learn more about my culture," adds Brittany Moguel.

"This is just a way to celebrate something that has not been in our history books, that's been left out of history books," says Gallegos.
"One thing I want people to be aware of is Indigenous People isn't just like one being. There's different tribes, different cultures," says Moguel.

"I'm Mestizo, a mixture of European and Indian. Many Latinos are Mestizo," adds Gallegos who says he hopes everyone will take this day to learn a bit of the history, which can't come fast enough for some who say although the Indigenous were here in America first they're often treated as if they don't belong.

"People ask me you're Indigenous I thought we were dead. Of course, I had insults thrown at me, oh she's like Pocahontas. Here comes Sacagawea," explains Pineda who says it's time to replace ignorance with information.

Indigenous People's Day will be celebrated every year in Houston on the second Monday in October in addition to Columbus Day.