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Health & Medicine to Observe Indigenous Peoples' Day

On October 8, 2018, for the first time in the organization’s history, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group will be observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The Indigenous Peoples of America have rich cultures and continue to show strength and resilience in the face of adversity and injustice. They have experienced thefts of their lands, languages, property, and lives since the arrival of settlers from Europe. This struggle for justice continues today, and Native People are often at the forefront of movements against inequities and for their own survival and wellbeing. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of Native People and lend our voice in support of all those seeking freedom, sovereignty, and justice.

The definition of health equity that guides our work at Health & Medicine requires that those working to advance equity value all individuals and populations equally and work to recognize and rectify historical injustices. Our decision to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors that work by challenging the sanitized histories that are often taught about the United States and its founding, a history that contributes to health inequities to this day.

In short, we believe that historical context matters to health equity and that celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a step towards recognizing the full scope of American history and the unfinished work of advancing justice.

As public health and healthcare policy leaders, Health & Medicine invites our partners, other organizations, and our broader government to likewise celebrate and honor Indigenous People’s Day.