The City of Grand Rapids Office of Equity and Engagement announced today on their Facebook page that this year instead of celebrating Columbus Day, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss issued a proclamation making the second Monday in October, Indigenous Peoples Day in Grand Rapids.

The change from celebrating Columbus Day, which Franklin Roosevelt made a holiday in 1937, to actually celebrating the people who were already living in what would become the United States of America has been a conversation for a number of years.  According to an article in TIME, the first change of the holiday happened in 1991, in Berkley, Cal., with the intention “to express appreciation for our survival, acknowledgment of our contribution to today’s world community, and to commemorate our fallen patriots.” The holiday change has really picked up momentum across the United States within the past year, the TIME article says.

Locally, Mayor Bliss made the proclamation in honor, celebration and recognition of the “values that Anishinaabek People of the Three Fires brought to Grand Rapids including, but not limited to: technology, thought, and culture of these indigenous peoples. The day also honors their contributions made by indigenous people as they continue to share their home and way of life,” according to the post on Facebook.

The post also quotes Mayor Bliss as saying,

This proclamation brings forward the intentional acknowledgment and recognition of the original people of this place that we call Grand Rapids. I encourage all residents and friends to take time on October 12 to honor and celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Facebook post also honors the passionate team of indigenous people who helped co-create and co-author the proclamation that Mayor Bliss signed and issued.

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