Minnesotans honor Indigenous People’s Day

Although we are in different boats you in your boat and we in our canoe we share the same river of life. Oren Lyons

The second Monday in October presents a dilemma for some Americans.  In some states and cities  — and with advertises – the day continues to be commemorated as Columbus Day, a federal holiday.  For Minnesotans,  Monday, October 9, 2017, is officially commemorated as  Indigenous People’s Day.   The historic designation resulted from protracted deliberations about the inconsistency of celebrations of Columbus Day.  St Paul and Minneapolis were early adopters of the change; eventually the State of Minnesota declared that the second Monday in October officially honors the heritage of the indigenous people whose lives and wisdom are imbedded in the culture of the state.

To learn more about the evolving day of recognition, Wikipedia offers further clarification: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_Peoples%27_Day.  MPR offers a recap of the decision here: . http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/04/27/307445328/minneapolis-renames-columbus-day-as-indigenous-peoples-day

Since the first celebration of Indigenous People’s Day communities throughout the state have sponsored a variety of commemorative events that have helped Minnesotans to learn about our heritage and to appreciate the refocus of the feast.   Some sample local initiatives:

For those of us who continue to struggle with our knowledge of the state’s history, the State of Minnesota Indian Affairs Council helps to fill the gap with this informative and readily accessible background piece: “Overview of Indian Tribes in Minnesota.” https://mn.gov/indianaffairs/tribes.html

In recent months, the Minnesota History Center has hosted a major program and exhibit that shares the talents and artistic work of American Indian artists who have been in residence at MHC for several months.  The exhibit is currently open at the History Center. http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/exhibits/renewing-what-they-gave-us

Also from the vast resources of the Minnesota History Center staff members have suggested a few books of particular relevance to Minnesotans’ commemoration of Indigenous People’s Day:

Towns, cities and community throughout the state will join in a host of programs and activities on Indigenous People’s Day 2017.  Some examples of the many planned activities:

You cannot destroy one who has dreamed a dream like mine. (Gaa wiin daa-aangoshkigaazo)   

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ADDENDUM:  http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/10/06/christopher-columbus-no-monuments-murderers

August 9 – The United National also sponsors the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People – Learn more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_the_World%27s_Indigenous_Peoples

November 4 – Native American Family Day at the Minnesota History Center – Noon-4:00.  Free admission, featured speakers and artists from local Native American community.  “Renewing What They Gave Us” exhibit of original beadwork, birth bark and textile pieces by American artists from the Upper Midwest.

 

 

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