Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a time to celebrate Indigenous culture, practices, and success – but it’s also a powerful political statement about whitewashed history and colonial violence. It’s celebrated on the same day as Columbus Day with the goal of ending societal relevance for a man that did not, in fact, discover America and was really a rapist, a murderer, and slave trader.
Unfortunately, the bulk of declarations and proclamations recognizing Indigenous Peoples in cities, counties, and states across the country do not abolish Columbus Day. For instance, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation last Friday to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which is the first time a US president had commemorated this holiday, but Columbus Day is still a national holiday, which means the state still celebrates colonization, genocide, and slavery.
On this edition of the 8 O’Clock Buzz, Sikowis speaks with Indigenous folks working hard to uplift Indigenous Peoples’ Day and cancel Columbus for good.
About the guests:
- Mike Forcia is a member of the Bad river Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Chairman of the American Movement Chapter of the Twin Cities. And organizer, he works to end Native homelessness and addiction while continuing to educate on the American Indian genocide. His family has owned and run several successful businesses in the Twin Cities over the years. We speak with him about his experience organizing the toppling the Christopher Columbus statue on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds last year.
- Siobhan Marks, or Zeegwun Noodenese, is Anishinaabe and Cree, a member of the Migizi Dodem Eagle Clan and a descendant of The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. As the creative lead and advisor on communications, promotions, public relations and marketing initiatives for the Indian Community School, she helps the school articulate its brand image and give voice to its Mission, Vision and Seven Sacred Gifts, while nurturing cultural capacity and positive relationships within her community.
- Keely Driscoll, or Ttakimaweakwe (“Little Wolf Woman”) is Meskwaki with ties to the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Keely resides in Tama, Iowa and is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in International Studies with certificates in Sustainability and Native American and Indigenous Studies, and hopes to go on to law school. Throughout her years at Iowa, she strives to continually improve her cross-cultural competence and raise awareness about it. Keely is the current President of the Native American Student Association. During the 2020 elections, Keely worked with other organizations such as VoteMob making efforts in youth engagement and the BIPOC vote. Keely also works for the Native Center for Behavioral Health in the College of Public Health. She is currently a youth organizer with Great Plains Action Society.