Fargo-Moorhead celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day
MOORHEAD, Minn. (KVRR) – The White Earth Veterans and Honor Guard, City of Moorhead, Minnesota State University Moorhead and the American Legion shared the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“I was asked when I was in the Air Force ‘What are you serving for? They took land, they took your people’s lives.’ I said ‘Yeah, we’re fighting for our land back. We’re taking it back one acre at a time,” Shareld Hanks said.
Even though Native Americans served our country since its founding, they weren’t recognized as citizens until the 20th century. In 1848, Mexican citizens in California, Arizona and Nevada were granted citizenship. Twenty years later, slaves were named citizens because of the 14th amendment.
“Yet one group, the original Americans, were not granted birthright citizenship until 1924. The push to create Indigenous Peoples Day and eliminate the whitewashing of American history has been a grassroots movement since before the 1970s,” MSUM Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Frank King said.
It’s important for many to show the importance of Native culture.
“We acknowledge that we occupy the ancestral land of the Anishinaabe, Dakota, Sisseton, Wahpeton, Yankton first nations,” MSUM Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Jered Pigeon said.
In 2019, Moorhead’s City Council voted to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“I really feel that Moorhead is a really special place because in Moorhead we really strive to find similarities, shared experiences that bring us together, but at the same time, we are intentional about celebrating and honoring our differences,” Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson said.
Minnesota celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but doesn’t recognize it as a state holiday. DFL State Representative Heather Keeler of Moorhead, a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, is the chief author of a bill to do just that. She says many Democrats are for it, but hasn’t gotten much support from Republicans.
South Dakota was the first state to honor Native Americans instead of Columbus Day. The state Declared the second Monday in October as Native American Day in 1989.