Fighting for Indigenous Peoples' Day

Monday marked Indigenous Peoples Day, a day meant to recognize Native American history and the challenges the communities across U.S. continue to face to this day.

Quannah Chasinghorse is a 21-year-old supermodel. She was raised in Alaska, where as a young teen she became an advocate for changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

"This day means a lot because when I was 13 years old I was the only person that showed up to advocate for change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day in Alaska in our school district Alaska," Chasinghorse said.

This young woman who has graced the covers of popular magazines is an IMG fashion model and an actress and has a deep connection to the lands and her peoples' way of life. As a teen she took a stand in school. 

"I just shared this story about how harmful it is for young indigenous kids to go to school; to trust teachers and the school system and curriculum to teach you proper history," she said. "I had so much faith in the school system so I just felt almost betrayed in a way because I wanted to trust that and learn but at school I started to take it less seriously because of that and it made me not want to school knowing that they were teaching us the incorrect history or falsified or whitewashed history."

So she uses her successful platform to promote indigenous peoples' causes. Now let's go to Phoenix, Arizona. That's where we caught up with Lehi Franklin, the owner of an indigenous hat making company in Long Beach. It's the Thunder Voice Hat Company.

The LA County Board of Supervisors start every meeting with a land acknowledgement. When the chair of the Board Janice Hahn opens the meeting she says, "We will begin today's meeting with our county’s land acknowledgement."

FOX 11’s Hal Eisner asked Franklin for his thoughts on LA County issuing a land acknowledgement.

Franklin says, "A land acknowledgement is to recognize the people who were there."

The County opening continues: "The county of Los Angeles recognizes that we occupy land originally and still inhabited and cared for by the Tongva, Tataviam, Serrano, Kizh and Chumash Peoples."

Franklin appears to have appreciated the gesture.

The Long Beach Indigenous hat maker thinks Native Americans need more of a voice in community, political and governmental affairs. He thinks Indigenous Peoples Day has been a good start. 

To be clear, the Federal Government still observes Columbus Day with mail and bank holidays and a day off for the federal courts. For cities and counties like ours in Los Angeles, they are observing Indigenous Peoples Day.

"And, what it means to me is being included in the history here because a lot of it has been removed from the history books," Franklin said.

And, for Quannah Chasinghorse, using her platform has been a real plus!

"It’s just truly showing up for your people as much as they show up for you," she said. "I just feel I have to continue to do it not just because I have a platform now but because it's truly my passion."