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Washington, DC — In recognition that indigenous people lived on the continent far before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas, Planned Parenthood Federation of America joins activists across the country in recognizing today as Indigenous Peoples Day.

“Indigenous Peoples Day is a celebration of the people and cultures native to this land,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “As a health care provider, Planned Parenthood knows that systemic racism is one of the greatest challenges to making sure all people can get the health care they need. We are working to build a world where all people can lead healthy lives and build their futures. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the violence Indigenous people continue to endure as a result of colonialism, and the contributions they have made to this country.

Planned Parenthood does not celebrate the violent oppression of Indigenous peoples, nor the erasure of Indigenous peoples’ history and cultures from narratives about America’s founding. Creating health equity — including access to quality, affordable, compassionate health care — requires a culture that promotes justice and equity, and actively dismantles the policies and traditions that have erased our nation’s history of marginalizing communities and people of color.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood affiliates serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.