The City of Madison has proclaimed the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples Day.” Madison first made this proclamation in 2005.
The resolution acknowledges the historical and cultural legacy of Indigenous peoples in Madison and the United States, as well as the repression and injustice they have experienced since European contact. It also affirms the vibrancy of the Native American community in Madison and celebrates their contributions to Madison’s civic life.
“Indigenous Peoples Day takes into account the history and contributions of Native Americans for a more accurate historical record in remembrance of the original inhabitants of this continent,” says Tim Fish, Madison resident and Citizen of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma.
The Common Council voted unanimously to adopt the proclamation at their Oct. 4 meeting.
“I am proud to, along with the entire Madison City Council, honor the history and contributions of our Indigenous peoples,” alder Shiva Bidar told Madison365. “I stand by our Indigenous peoples as an ally in their continued struggles for social and environmental justice.”
Janet Saiz, a member of the Ponca Nation of Nebraska and long-time Madison resident, spoke to the resolution during public comments. “Thanks for recognizing the struggles and all the things the Indigenous people of this state have had to contend with,” Saiz said. “I’m glad to see the city has recognized the fact that we’re here, we’re still alive, and we will persist in standing up for those things that we feel are important for all the indigenous people of the state.”
Jessie Brown, a Mayan woman from Guatemala also thanked the Council for the resolution. “When this was brought to my attention, I had a sense of happiness that there are people who want to learn the culture of the natives that live here, and that they want to be a part of the change that needs to be done,” said Brown.
This year’s Indigenous Peoples Day will be celebrated on Monday, October 10.