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Statement from MCRC Co-Chair Laura Reyes Kopack Recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day

October 8, 2018

Grand Rapids, MI - At the October 8 meeting of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Commission Co-Chair Laura Reyes Kopack delivered the following statement recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day.

“Across the country and the western hemisphere, Native Americans and Latinx will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day today, October 8, to recognize the importance of the indigenous people who were here long before Columbus. We, too, celebrate with them.

Millions of indigenous people were displaced by European colonists, and between their arrival and the Pilgrims’ arrival in 1620, some estimate that up to 90% of the native population died, mostly from exposure to diseases brought over from Europe. The remaining indigenous people saw their land and culture nearly destroyed by the violence of colonization.

Even today, Native American communities continue to be a target of institutional racism. 

Indigenous Peoples’ Day serves as a commemoration of their history and culture and highlights the Native American communities that have always been here. Indigenous Peoples’ Day serves as a way to respect and honor Native American communities in Michigan and across our country.”

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to carry out constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights serves as the operational arm of the Commission.

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