In 2021, Indigenous Peoples’ Day officially became recognized as an October 11th federal holiday. The day is intended to commemorate Native American peoples and encourage reflection about their contribution—past, present, and future—to this country. Let’s take a look at why this holiday is so special, and the role that clean water plays in celebrating it.
History of Indigenous Peoples’ Day
While President Biden was the first US President to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2021, the idea for this holiday came about much earlier. As early as 1977, Indigenous Peoples’ Day was proposed by activists as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day. It would be “officially” celebrated for the first time in 1992, at Berkeley, California.
Reflecting voices of the past, there has been a more recent call for Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a way to recognize the damage done to Native American communities. Many people view this federal holiday as a way to acknowledge some of the actions committed by Christopher Columbus and colonization as a whole.
Beyond that, this holiday celebrates Indigenous peoples’ culture, practices, and contributions to these lands.
The Navajo Water Project
Unfortunately, the first peoples to inhabit this country have also been some of the last to get access to clean water. In the Navajo Nation, it’s all too common for residents to need to purchase (at a premium) and haul their own water. Lacking basic infrastructure that many of us take for granted, almost a third of Navajo residents are without a sink or toilet.
This makes Indigenous families in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah 67 times more likely than other Americans to have a home without a toilet or running water.
For more than 150 years, it’s been an uphill battle for Navajo and other tribes who signed treaties with the federal government. They gave up their land in exchange for infrastructure, health care, and housing. And for the most part, they’re still waiting for what was owed to them.
This is where initiatives like The Navajo Water Project—a program of the DigDeep Right to Water Project—provide much-needed support.
DigDeep works to close the gap for more than 2.2 million Americans across the U.S., from Navajo Nation to Appalachia, who still lack access to running water or basic plumbing. Through evidence-based and community-led solutions, they have four active projects across the country.
Clean, Healthy Water For All
AquaTru is honored to be partnering with DigDeep this year to support their Navajo Water Project. Earlier this year, we donated $50,000 to help fund the project’s community-managed utility alternative to piped water and sewer lines. The Indigenous-led effort is working towards securing clean water for all Navajo people—and with every AquaTru purchase, you help to make this possible.