Throughout human history, whenever dominant neighbouring peoples have expanded their territories or settlers from far away have acquired new lands by force, the cultures and livelihoods—even the very existence—of indigenous peoples have been endangered. The threats to indigenous peoples’ cultures and lands, to their status and other legal rights as distinct groups and as citizens, do not always take the same forms as in earlier times. Although some groups have been relatively successful, in most of the world indigenous peoples are still actively seeking recognition of their identities and ways of life.Fact Sheet No.9 (Rev.1), The Rights of Indigenous Peoples Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Today has us thinking about the first builders of community on these lands we now reside upon. As early as 8000 BCE to 2000 BCE, Archaic peoples of Northern America adopted a broad array of social, economic, and technological innovation and enjoyed a long period of relative stability. “In areas that were either unusually prosperous or, conversely, unsuitable for agriculture—the rich microclimates of California and the salmon-rich Plateau and Pacific Northwest in the former case and the cool interior of northern Canada in the latter—foraging societies persisted well into the 19th century CE.” (https://www.britannica.com/topic/American-Indian)
Sharing of food, water, child-rearing. Cultivation of medicinals, vegetables, fruits and other plants, as well as using dogs to aid collaborating hunting parties, systems for food and water collection and retention, the development of games and and dances, even the organization and placement of shelters – the first peoples of Northern American knew about co-creating to elevate an abundant existence long before we did.
Where we have our offices for GatherBoard and MissoulaEvents.net in the Missoula Valley, and the neighboring Bitterroot Valley, are the original homelands of the Séliš (Salish) and Qlispe (Pend d’Oreille/Kalispel) people who inhabited this land since time immemorial. This area was also frequented by other tribes including the Ksanka (Kootenai), Niitsitapi (Blackfeet), Newe (Shoshone), Apsáalooke (Crow), and Ka’I gwu (Kiowa).
Some of our Native friends reminded us that today could be considered a “second-rate, off brand, bullshit holiday.” We hear you. And yet, we need reminding. Much reminding.
So Today, and Every Day, Today, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We honor Native people, and we recognize the significant and incomparable contributions made by Native people in Missoula and the U.S. We acknowledge that we are on Indigenous land. We honor the original stewards of this land and their descendants, many of whom continue to live, work, teach, create and learn in this community. We are committed to showing gratitude for the land and its Indigenous peoples by respecting and remembering this in our thoughts and actions.