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Twin Ports celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day virtually

Ryan Juntti
Updated: October 12, 2020 10:42 PM

On Monday, the Twin Ports celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day, but both the Duluth and Superior communities had to do so virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Despite going virtual, the message of celebrating what it is about remained the same.

Members of the Duluth Indigenous Commission proclaimed, "We Are Indigenous" outside of Duluth City Hall on Monday afternoon where they invited the public to attend virtually.

"Indigenous Peoples' Day is very deep to me," said Duluth Indigenous Commission Chair Babette Sandman.

Sandman and others sang songs and read a proclamation from Duluth Mayor Emily Larson officially proclaiming Monday, October 12, 2020 as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

This has been a tradition in the City of Duluth for about 15 years now.

Sandman says the day is for her relatives and ancestors who faced adversity.

"I'm Indigenous. Anishinaabe, and I'm proud, and I feel like as I honor myself this way, I honor all of my ancestors, and I honor my dad, who didn't get to feel what I feel today," Sandman said.

Across the bridge, the University of Wisconsin-Superior also hosted their third annual Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration virtually.

Superior Mayor Jim Paine also proclaimed Monday as Indigenous Peoples' Day. He spoke about the significance of the city holiday saying it's more than just about replacing Columbus Day, but also a movement to celebrate Indigenous people.

"This is not a holiday that just looks to the past, but one that looks like the people that are living right now in the City of Superior. The work that they're doing, and the work that we can all do going into the future," Paine said.

It's the present and future generations that Sandman is challenging to learn more about their past.

"They might say, 'why do we have an Indigenous Peoples' Day? Aren't we just Indigenous every day?' Yes we are, but you need to know where we came from, and how this didn't look possible at one time, but it also shows how things can change when we put the work into it, and so I say to the future generation, 'pick up for where we're at right now, and we'll be the wind at your back,' " Sandman said. 

The Duluth Indigenous Commission says they one day hope to make the proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day a city ordinance.

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Ryan Juntti

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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