Some Communities Begin to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day
For years the second Monday of October has been celebrated as Columbus Day.
Monday, Mid- Michigan Community College held a celebration to recognize the history and contributions given by local tribes like the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
“Today represents the opportunity to teach some of the true history of this nation and the country itself,” said Erik Rodriguez, the interim public relations director for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
Rather than celebrate Columbus Day, some including Mid-Michigan Community College have decided to recognize the day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
For the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, this means so much.
“For us to be recognized as indigenous people today and understand that we were the first inhabitants of this land, that really means something to us,” said Rodriguez.
Students and staff from the college invited community leaders including the chief of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to come speak today.
“His words that he spoke today were very meaningful and significant about the cultural, historic and economic contributions that the tribe makes to our area,” said Dr. Jennifer Fager, the vice president of academic affairs at Mid- Michigan Community College.
In addition to the many speeches, there are tables full of artifacts. These were all brought to the college by the Great Lakes Logging and Indian Culture Museum.
For Mid- Michigan Community College, it’s important for their students to understand and appreciate the history of indigenous people.
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe says they’re thankful for the Mount Pleasant community’s efforts to understand their history.
“For us to see that movement around the area, around the state and around the nation, speaks volumes for us,” said Rodriguez.
The tribe hopes people realize the reason behind communities choosing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day.
“If people say well it’s always been Columbus Day but why are they trying to change it to Indigenous people’s day. To try and understand that history, to understand what’s taken place there,” said Rodriguez.