For many Americans, the second Monday of October known as Columbus Day celebrates the man who is known to millions of schoolchildren as the person ‘who sailed the ocean blue’ and found the new world. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the painful impact Columbus’ journey had on the Indigenous People of the Americas. In fact, many don’t even realize that Columbus never actually even set foot on North American soil (but instead only on the Caribbean Islands), but he did help drive revolutionary change in the area including modernism that resulted in the poor treatment of millions of native or indigenous people and attack on their beautiful culture.
It should be known that Columbus and the settlers who followed, were warmly greeted when they arrived. In fact, he referred to the Indigenous People were as ‘Indeos’ (meaning: ‘In God’).
I’m a direct descendant of Brings Plenty, a Lakota holy man, and deeply understand the pain my ancestors endured after colonization. I believe that Indigenous People’s Day should and can be celebrated this coming Monday, on what is known to most as Columbus Day. I understand, that for some people, there’s a cultural connection to Columbus, and the day serves as more of a celebration in recognizing parts of America that are truly great. However, as an indigenous person, I feel it’s vital to also take a moment on this day to also remember the beautiful culture and positive teachings of the indigenous people and their connection to this land and its animals, specifically America’s wild horses. That is why this Monday, on what’s known to most as Columbus Day, I will be celebrating Indigenous People’s Day.
The treatment of our country’s wild horse population has similar themes in that of the historical treatment of my native brothers and sisters, especially those who have lived on reservations. As the Director of Relations & Rangeland Acquisitions for the CANA Foundation, an organization dedicated to humane and sustainable ways of saving America’s Wild Horses, one of our primary goals is to rewild horses back to their native communities so they can both live free and restore some of the balance that existed before my people’s cultural identity was decimated. That is why this Monday while celebrating Indigenous People’s Day, I’ll also be celebrating Rewilding and reconnecting with our community.
The teachings of our culture and people place the highest value on all living beings. In Rewilding and reconnecting with nature and our community we can reflect on the culture of the Indigenous People, and learn from their connection to this great land and their commitment to restoring the balance between humans, horses and nature. We cannot change the past, but we can make a better future for all and it begins by all of us working together.
About CANA Foundation: CANA is a 501(C)3 organization rewilding America’s wild horses, humans and habitats.
CANA Foundation’s re-wilding initiatives humanely manage and preserve America’s wild horse populations; while simultaneously fostering land conservation, sustainability, community empowerment and stewardship.
Our re-wilding mission is to restore an ecological balance to our environment through America’s wild horses, by connecting their value for our habitat and land conservation with the overall impact that has on our future.
CANA shows specific support for America’s Indigenous People; in acknowledgment and reverence for their understanding and connection with nature and our wild horse nation.