For over 45 years, American Indian people in Minneapolis and Indigenous communities across the Americas have been raising awareness about the need to transform Columbus Day. Recognized as a federal holiday on the second Monday of October, Columbus Day represents a painful legacy for a vast majority of the children and families whose Indigenous ancestors have lived on this land since time immemorial.
I am proud to lead the effort, along with several American Indian community members, to end the official recognition of Columbus Day in the City of Minneapolis because I understand that in order to help close the racial equity gap and diminish the effects of historical trauma, we should change our policies and practices to better reflect the experiences of American Indian people and uplift our country’s Indigenous roots and contributions.
The idea of Indigenous Peoples Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native nations to the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas. In 1990 representatives from 120 Indigenous nations at the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance unanimously passed a resolution to transform Columbus Day into an occasion to strengthen the process of continental unity and struggle towards liberation, and thereby use the occasion to reveal historical truths.
Minneapolis has a strong history of over four decades of American Indian activism, which I celebrate and honor. In this light, please join the first Indigenous woman ever elected to the Minnesota State Legislature, Representative Susan Allen, U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison, American Indian Movement Co-Founder Clyde Bellecourt, NACDI President Jay Bad Heart Bull, Mayor Betsy Hodges and I for a community reception to learn about the meaning of this effort. Stay for the City Council meeting to show your support for this resolution.