Bemidji renews recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day
Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht delivers the annual State of the City address on Tuesday night. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- While Columbus Day will still take place next Monday, the city of Bemidji is once again joining a movement to acknowledge the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

At the onset of the City Council meeting Monday, Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht read a proclamation announcing the official recognizing of Oct. 14 as Indigenous Peoples'/Treaty Day. The announcement comes three years after the last recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day in 2016 by another proclamation.

When reading the proclamation, Albrecht said the day is to value "the progress society has accomplished through Indigenous peoples' knowledge, labor, technology, science, arts, sacred ecologies and deep culture that has substantially shaped the character of the city of Bemidji."

The proclamation also "acknowledges the need to be mindful of historical trauma stemming from colonization and government policy toward Indigenous peoples and use this awareness to inform our work."

According to the proclamation, the idea of Indigenous Peoples' Day was first proposed in 1977. The concept was brought forward by a delegation of Native nations to the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas.


Minneapolis made Indigenous Peoples' Day an official holiday in 2014 and St. Paul followed in 2015. In 2016, Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed Indigenous Peoples' Day for the entire state.

In July, both Moorhead and Grand Forks became the latest regional cities to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day. Other area communities recognizing the holiday include Grand Rapids and Red Wing.

While the proclamation recognizes Indigenous Peoples' Day, it also notes the municipal government's recognizing of Columbus Day, too, in accordance with the federal holiday established in 1937.

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