The contributions that Indigenous peoples have made throughout history — in public service, entrepreneurship, scholarship, the arts, and countless other fields — are integral to our Nation, our culture, and our society. Indigenous peoples have served, and continue to serve, in the United States Armed Forces with distinction and honor — at one of the highest rates of any group — defending our security every day.
And Native Americans have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, working essential jobs and carrying us through our gravest moments. Further, in recognition that the pandemic has harmed Indigenous peoples at an alarming and disproportionate rate, Native communities have led the way in connecting people with vaccination, boasting some of the highest rates of any racial or ethnic group.
The Federal Government has a solemn obligation to lift up and invest in the future of Indigenous people and empower Tribal Nations to govern their own communities and make their own decisions. We must never forget the centuries-long campaign of violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror wrought upon Native communities and Tribal Nations throughout our country. Today, we acknowledge the significant sacrifices made by Native peoples to this country — and recognize their many ongoing contributions to our Nation.
On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor America’s first inhabitants and the Tribal Nations that continue to thrive today. I encourage everyone to celebrate and recognize the many Indigenous communities and cultures that make up our great country.