Twin Ports Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day |

Twin Ports Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day

Brandon Weathers
Updated: October 16, 2019 08:35 AM

The second Monday of October has been recognized as a federal holiday honoring Christopher Columbus for 85 years. The City of Superior has officially joined Duluth in the national movement to denounce Columbus Day and instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Former chair for the Superior Commision on Communities of Color Kym Young said, "To not just present Indigenous Day as an alternative to Columbus Day, but to right a very significant wrong that has been perpetuated in our history for over 535 years."

Superior Mayor Jim Paine has read a proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day for the past three years, but this is the first year the full Superior City Council has supported the new holiday.

"Despite a troubled history, this should still be a day of celebration," Mayor Paine said. The proclamation included, "Indigenous Peoples Day will provide an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the history, culture, and contributions of indigenous peoples in our community."

For local indigenous leaders, many years of advocating for this change are finally realized. UWS Assistant professor emeritus of First Nation Studies Gary Johnson began protesting Columbus Day 30 years ago. He said, "You know, there were times when I thought, 'It's never gonna happen.'"

Superior is one of a growing number of communities celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day. Other first time declarations in 2019 include the state of Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

Young said the increasing support gives her hope that Columbus Day will be replaced by Indigenous Peoples' Day nationwide. She said, "Now the fight is still going on to take it all the way to the federal level."

Organizers hope events like the one at Superior City Hall will help Americans understand the impacts indigenous Americans understand the impacts indigenous people have had on American history.

Johnson said, "We need everybody to come together and to recognize this, to recognize who we are. Our place in this continent. Our place in history."


Brandon Weathers

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