Published October 1, 2016
BEMIDJI, MINNESOTA – Following a trend that is sweeping the nation to recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Day, Mayor Rita Albrecht of Bemidji, Minnesota will read a proclamation announcing October 10, 2016 to be recognized as Indigenous Peoples’/ Treaty Day.
“We had a request from BSU students and also local community members. They were so very similar that it seemed to make sense that we could make it Indigenous Peoples’/Treaty Day,” Albrecht told a local Bemidji newspaper. “It’s a proclamation to bring attention to the fact that historically, Bemidji is an indigenous village and that our shared history is wrapped up in that.”
Part of the Bemidji proclamation states: “indigenous nations have lived upon this land prior to European settlement and we value the progress society has accomplished through Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, labor, technology, science, philosophy, arts, sacred ecologies and deep culture that has substantially shaped the character of the city of Bemidji…treaties are an enduring reminder of how the past still influences this community” and for those reasons, “the city of Bemidji wishes to set aside a day to foster community unity and strengthen cooperation and understanding which will improve our lives and reveal a more accurate historical record.”
The city will still recognize the national holiday known as Columbus Day on October 10. Many American Indians have long resisted the observance of a day to honor Christopher Columbus, who is credited with “discovering” the Americas in American history.
In recent years, several cities have dropped Columbus Day to Indigenous Day, including Albuquerque, New Mexico; Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Paul, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.
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