MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s known nationally as Columbus Day, but in Minneapolis, today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day — and extra symbolic for some local American Indians.

As the sun rose, they stood, celebrating a day of reverence to America’s native culture at Bde Maka Ska. From Bde Maka Ska, the celebration shifted to a parade in St. Paul and despite the rain, it was a time to shine.

Then, Gatherings Café created a free indigenous feast at the Minneapolis American Indian Center.

Mary LaGarde-Agnew is the executive director of the center and said, “The day is important because it really takes into account and honors indigenous people that have been here for so long.”

Natives have headlined several stories over the past year: the re-naming of Lake Bde Maka Ska, protests for an oil pipeline, the Hiawatha encampment and heroin abuse.

Tommy Tomahawk was at the day’s celebration. He said, “I understand addiction myself. Me being sober, it took a long time to get there and I guess we just have to show those people more compassion, more prayer, more love.”

Tomahawk is a Standing Rock Sioux and says it’s an important time for Natives to stand their ground, “There’s always good issues and bad issues, but we as a community do the best we can and we gotta change some things so we’re more involved in mainstream America.”

And so he and hundreds of others take pause to look back and move forward, “I’m proud of our way of life, our spiritual way of life and how we handle things and do things.”

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield


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