Southfield and Ferndale Declare Monday “Indigenous Peoples Day”

Southfield and Ferndale Declare Monday “Indigenous Peoples Day”

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 6, 2018)

Southfield, MI- While many governmental offices are closed on Monday in honor of Columbus Day, The Cities of Southfield and Ferndale have taken a different approach to the day.

The announcement Southfield’s social media and website says “The City of Southfield offices and library will be closed on Monday, October 8 in observation of Indigenous Peoples Day. City offices will reopen for business at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, October 9.”

Indigenous Peoples Day is recognized in cities across the country as well as several states including Alaska, Minnesota and Vermont. The day is intended to celebrate Native Americans, their history and culture, and to acknowledge the death and displacement of native peoples during colonization. Columbus Day is named for the Italian-American explorer Christopher Columbus who named Native Americans “Indians” because he believed he had landed in India. Columbus has been honored for launching European settlement in the Americas, but also criticized for the slaughter, capture, and slavery of native peoples.

Last year at least six other Michigan cities recognized the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day – Traverse City, Alpena, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Ypsilanti and Detroit.

Southfield City Council approved the holiday earlier this year. Ferndale approved the holiday in 2016, for every year moving forward.

“City Council adopted a resolution to discontinue Observance of Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day,” said Mayor Ken Siver. “The City of Southfield is proud of its diversity and is welcome of all people. Indigenous Peoples Day is an expression of support for Native Americans and an acknowledgment of their contributions to our nation.” The vote was 6-1, with Councilperson Donald Fracassi casting the no vote.

Ferndale’s resolution stated “WHEREAS, the City of Ferndale promotes the closing of the equity gap for Indigenous Peoples through policies and practices that reflect the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, ensure greater access and opportunity, and honor our nation’s indigenous roots, history, and contributions; and WHEREAS Ferndale has a responsibility to oppose the systematic racism towards Indigenous people in the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating disproportionate health, education, and social crises” as the reasons for proclaiming the holiday.

For more communities that have made the change, as well as history about the holiday, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_Peoples%27_Day

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