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NMU celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day

Nish sign
Jeffery Gagnon

MARQUETTE, MI— While some call it Columbus Day, others—like Northern Michigan University—choose to call it Indigenous Peoples Day.

April Lindala, Professor of Native American Studies at NMU, says for many Native people Columbus Day is symbolic of the erasure of Indigenous people’s humanity.

“It is a matter of saying, ‘We’re going to recognize the past and ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples on this continent.’”

Lindala says the holiday is about broadening the discussions to connect Indigenous People with humanity. It’s necessary in both a historical and contemporary context, in that transitioning Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day is a symbolic act of inclusion within today’s society.

“A study was done from Penn State University in 2015 that showed 87 percent of references to Native Americans in U.S. history curricula are in the context of before 1900. That’s really one-sided,” she says.

On Monday, Northern’s Native American Student Association will unveil an official Anishinaabe territorial acknowledgement sign from the university, and at 6 p.m. Doctor Rebecca Webster of the Oneida Tribe will talk about tribal governance and food sovereignty at Whitman Commons.