October 14, 2019: Indigenous Peoples Day

WHEREAS, the idea of Indigenous Peoples Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas; and,  

WHEREAS, in 1990, representatives from 120 Indigenous Nations at the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance unanimously passed a resolution to transform Columbus Day into an opportunity to reveal historical truths about pre-existing indigenous cultures that have survived an often violent colonization process and continue to exist and thrive in present day America; and,

WHEREAS, the United States endorsed the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on December 16, 2010, and Article 15 of that declaration states:

  • Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories, and aspirations, which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.
  • States should take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding, and good relations among Indigenous peoples and all other segments of society; and, 

WHEREAS, the state of Michigan recognizes the presence of the three major groups in our state today, the Chippewa (Ojibwe), Ottawa (Odawa), and Potawatomi (Bodéwadmik), who have lived upon this land since time immemorial, and values the progress our society has accomplished through Native American thought and culture; and,

WHEREAS, the Tribal Council of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians has passed a resolution to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October; and,

WHEREAS, the resolution states that Indigenous Peoples Day shall be used to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples on this land, and to celebrate the thriving cultures and values that the Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and other indigenous peoples contribute to society; and,

WHEREAS, on this second Monday of October, we should honor the historic, cultural, and contemporary significance of Indigenous peoples and their ancestral lands that also became known as the Americas and celebrate their contributions to communities throughout Michigan, the United States, and all over the world;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim October 14, 2019, as Indigenous Peoples Day in Michigan to uplift our country’s indigenous roots, history, and contributions.