You may have seen this article in the Mankato Free Press on Monday: Columbus Day could become “Indigenous People’s Day” in Mankato.

MANKATO — The second Monday in October, a federal holiday honoring Christopher Columbus, would be Indigenous Peoples Day in Mankato under a resolution the City Council will consider in coming weeks.

Dave Brave Heart — backed by about 30 community members — brought the request to a council work session Monday night. Brave Heart first offered praise for the city’s recognition in recent decades of the conflict-ridden history of Mankato’s founding and its efforts to promote reconciliation with descendants of the Dakota who first made the river valley home.

We were happy to join other partners, including the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and the YWCA in endorsing the change. Our letter of support reads:

To the Mankato City Council:

The staff and clients of the Minnesota Council of Churches support the adoption of the resolution calling for of the second Tuesday of each October to be recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Mankato.

 
Those we serve in our work, and many of us on staff, came to the U.S. with refugee-status. We understand the pain of being persecuted for our beliefs and not being protected by our governments. We can identify with the Indigenous Peoples who were forced to flee their homes and leave behind their way of life. The Minnesota Council of Churches has had a Refugee Services Office in Mankato since 2012. As we have learned about the history of the Mankato community, and the longer history of the Indigenous Peoples who first inhabited this region, we
are humbled by the resilience and strength of the Indigenous Peoples.

 
We support the important work of reconciliation begun by Amos Owens and Bud Lawrence, and continued by many others past and present. It is important for the City of Mankato to continue to participate in that reconciliation and to build trusting relationships with diverse cultural communities, like the individuals with refugee status whom we represent and serve.

 

The Minnesota Council of Churches strongly supports the designation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day will give our community a way to celebrate those original peoples and those, like refugees, who have resettled in Mankato and now call it home.
Sincerely,
Rev. Dr. Curtiss DeYoung
Chief Executive Officer

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