On Oct. 10, Metropolitan State University commemorates Indigenous Peoples’ Day to celebrate Native American culture and history. Similar actions have been taken by the cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The University annually designates the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in place of the federally recognized Columbus Day, and further recognizes that Metropolitan State’s Dayton’s Bluff campus is situated on Dakota land and adjacent to sacred burial mounds on the bluffs of the Mississippi River.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes the unique cultures and challenges of indigenous peoples worldwide. These challenges include human rights, developmental, educational, environmental, and medical/health issues faced by members of native cultures.
The observance is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Office of Equal Employment & Diversity, University Admissions, University Advancement, and VOICES (“Voices of Indian Council for Educational Success,” a student organization at Metropolitan State that promotes educational success for American Indian students and raises awareness of American Indian issues among the non-Indian population).
Two events are planned:
10 a.m.—Native American artist Charles Stately will set up and display two tipis on the lawn outside of the Great Hall as an exhibit demonstrating Native American ties to the land.
4 to 6 p.m.—Hinhan Loud Hawk, a member of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, will speak about Native Americans’ culture and history, their connections to the earth, and the ongoing demonstration at Standing Rock Indian Reservation. This presentation will take place in the Great Hall.
The day is intended to serve as a reminder of the importance of relationship and cooperation between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Although Columbus Day has been recognized as a public holiday, we choose to honor Indigenous People’s Day instead, and to call into question the observance of a holiday that fails to commemorate the contributions of native and other peoples. Metropolitan State University will also use this day to further enlighten and teach about indigenous culture, traditions, religion, arts, and history, as well as the contributions of indigenous individuals to society.
In a global context, Aug. 9, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, is a day for contemplating injustices done in the name of colonization or seizures of territory. Among these tragic events are the removal of native peoples from their lands, forced religious conversion, physical enslavement, or even episodes of genocide or near-genocide.
Approximately 90 Native American students attend Metropolitan State. For more information, contact Renee BeaulieuBanks, American Indian Student Services, at (651) 793-1560 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or David Isham at 651-793-1509, email@example.com.