Monday, October 10, 2016

Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrated in Duluth City

Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrated at Duluth City Hall on what has traditionally been Columbus Day.

Alexis Faulk sings to Duluth Mayor Emily Larson and a crowd of others gathered on the steps of City Hall. Alexis' Native name is Madwewegizhigookwe and she is from Turtle Lake, Wi. She is a member of the St. Croix Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Alexis attends Unity High school and plans to graduate in 2017.

Babette Sandman of the Duluth Ingenious People's Commission spoke about the importance of recognizing Indigenous People's Day rather than Columbus Day. She said it does devalue and hurt the pride of Native Americans who were in America first.

Ten years ago Duluth's Mayor Herb Bergstrom declared the first Monday in October to be Indigenous People's Day. The year was 2006. Yet Duluth is rarely cited as one of the cities to do this. Other cities include: Berkley, Denver, Phoenix and Seattle. The City of Cincinnati voted against it. In 1990 the state of South Dakota declared it Native American Day.

The Hillsider covered the event way back then. To see the story visit

After the event at City Hall many walked to the sound of a beating drum to Lake Superior

Indigenous people symbolically walk from Duluth City Hall to Lake Superior  Photo by Pamela Arseth Nault

Front page of the Hillsider Nov. 2006

Jackie Fairbanks, a 6th grader at Woodland Middle School walked beside her father, John Fairbanks. She said, “We aren’t really celebrating the truth.” She thinks Native Americans are treated differently when the truth is not taught. (Hillsider File photo)