How The Clubhouse Supports Indigenous Youth
October 11, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day, a day to celebrate and honor the people and communities native to the Americas. Beginning in 1989, Americans seeking to correct existing notions of history began observing it as a direct response to Columbus Day held on the same day. The former holiday dates back to 1866 and was intended to memorialize the first arrival of Europeans in the Americas in 1492, led by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. We now understand that this moment marked the start of the genocide and devastation of indigenous people in the Americas. We celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day to commemorate the historical crimes of colonialism and lift up their erased history. Their existence cannot be overlooked or their contributions ignored. Many, but not all, states and cities in the United States have instituted Indigenous Peoples Day observances instead of Columbus Day celebrations.
We celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day to commemorate the historical crimes of colonialism and lift up their erased history.
According to the 2021 census, indigenous people make up 2.9% of the U.S. population. And yet, due to the legacies of colonialism and racism, we know that indigenous youth are not receiving equal access to STEM education and opportunities. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “more than half of Native American students currently lack access to the math and science high school classes they’d need to fill jobs in a STEM field.” And this is just one example of the ways in which indigenous youth have faced discrimination and marginalization. If we are committed to rectifying wrongdoings of the past and supporting the most marginalized communities, then we at The Clubhouse Network have a very specific role in filling this access gap for indigenous teens.
More than half of Native American students currently lack access to the math and science high school classes they’d need to fill jobs in a STEM field.U.S. Department of Education
The Clubhouse Network is proud to partner with organizations and communities that are serving and led by indigenous communities. Sacaton, Arizona, is home to The Clubhouse @ Boys & Girls Club of the Gila River Indian Community, serving native residents of the reservation of the same name. They take pride in being “part of a national movement serving our Native youth.” The Boys & Girls Clubs of America estimates that it reaches 90,000 Native youth across mainland USA and its territories. 16 different Boys & Girls Clubs locations are home to Clubhouses and Teen Tech Centers.
Indigenous Peoples Day observances vary across the Americas. Several Latin-American countries observe Día de la Raza on the same day, recognizing the blended heritages–Indigenous and European–of their communities. Our Central and South American Clubhouses welcome youth of all backgrounds and identities, serving teens of indigenous heritage.
The Clubhouse Network stands with indigenous people and their fight for justice in the Americas and around the world on Indigenous Peoples Day and throughout the year.