Denver, CO – This Monday marks the 20th anniversary of Denver’s Four Directions All Nations March, which celebrates and honors Indigenous people and calls for Columbus Day to be repealed. This year’s event is the first since the repeal of Columbus Day in Colorado, an effort that took over 30 years.
Unicorn Riot streamed the entire event, and below are five videos from the stream of the speeches honoring the four topics of this year’s march—Rita Martinez (west), Tigray (north), Palestine (east), and ‘genocide schools,’ or residential schools (south).
Colorado is essentially the birthplace of Columbus Day—it had the first celebration in the country in 1907, thirty years before it became a federal holiday. However on March 11, 2020, the official state celebrations were terminated when the legislature passed a bill replacing Columbus Day with Cabrini Day, honoring Catholic nun and Italian immigrant advocate Frances Xavier Cabrini. (This is the first paid state holiday recognizing a woman in the U.S.)
Cabrini was the patron saint of immigrants and helped immigrants in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn when she first arrived in the U.S. in 1899. Three years later, she moved to Colorado to help Denver’s poor Italian immigrants.
Denver permanently designated the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 3, 2016, joining nearly 130 other U.S. cities. 14 states, and the District of Colombia, also officially observe the holiday.
On October 8, 2021, President Joe Biden proclaimed that along with Columbus Day, Indigenous People’s Day will now be a federal holiday on October 11 in the U.S.
Below is the full stream of the event.
Cover image uses a portion of the Four Directions All Nations March poster.