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Native Sun News: Minneapolis adopts Indigenous People's Day

The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Managing Editor All content © Native Sun News.

Supporters celebrate the city council’s decision to observe Indigenous People’s Day. Photo COURTESY/Star Tribune

Minneapolis now has Indigenous People’s Day
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News
Managing Editor

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Columbus Day is still there but the city of Minneapolis will now refer to the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day.

“This gesture by the city government speaks to years of struggle for recognition and equity by members of the city's Native American population. As one of the cities with a high Native population in the country, it hasn't been until recently that city officials have embraced its indigenous history,” said Alfred Afraid of Bull. Afraid of Bull is the managing editor of the Minneapolis’s Native American newspaper, The Circle.

The resolution is only binding to the city of Minneapolis policies and not that of neighboring St. Paul, or the State or Federal offices in Minnesota. The move was met with praise from tribal members as well as city officials. The version of the resolution was tamed down from an earlier one that would have renamed Columbus Day however this bill allows for the celebration of Columbus Day but on all city messages it will be called Indigenous People’s day.

“This is not necessarily about Columbus. He is not the center of our existence," said Council Member Alondra Cano, who spearheaded the change. "This is about the power of the American Indian people and indigenous communities all over the world. We are setting the record straight,” said city clerk Casey Carl to the Star Tribune.

According to Walking Bull the change was brought about as a result of the community’s efforts as well as that of the Native American Community Development institute led by Jay Bad Heart Bull and Daniel Yang. The community used the organization as a conduit to convey their belief that city government should create a day that would recognize the city’s historical relationship with Native people.

“NACDI was the catalyst in working with the community, but it builds on decades of work from other organizations, groups and thousands of activists that have worked to push this … It's the Bullecourt’s, the grandmas, the youth groups, Little Red Schoolhouse, Heart of the Earth. We're just lucky to stand on the shoulders of all of these great leaders, activists and advocates in our community. We feel like we would be doing a disservice if we didn't try to push even further and build on top of that foundation that the laid for us young folk,” Bad Heart Bull told The Circle.

Thanks to a Native American newspaper published by Tim Giago in South Dakota, Indian Country Today, South Dakota is the only state in the Union that celebrates a state-sanctioned holiday on October 12 called Native American Day. The state has been celebrating this holiday since 1990.

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