WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – From helping the Pilgrims survive a harsh winter to speaking in a code that helped the allies win World War II, Monday is a day to honor the contributions of Native Americans.
National Indigenous Peoples’ Day falls on the same day as Columbus Day as a way to honor the people already living in the country when Christopher Columbus landed in 1492.
The influence of Native American culture can be seen everywhere. In many parts of the country, rivers, towns and other landmarks still bear names originally given by native tribes.
Indigenous people aided Europeans throughout the country’s development, as early as the first permanent settlement at Plymouth Rock. They served as teachers, guides and doctors.
Though Europeans and Native Americans would also embark on a relationship frequently mired in conflict, Indigenous people have left an indelible mark of culture and traditions on the United States.
Last Friday, President Joe Biden signed the first-ever proclamation declaring October 11 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States. He’s the first U.S. president to formally recognize the day.
Biden wrote in the proclamation, “Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”