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For First Time, City Of Eugene Formally Recognizes Today As "Indigenous Peoples Day"

Flickr.com's Smithsonian Institution.

Today, while many other American communities are observing Columbus Day, Eugene is joining several other Pacific Northwest cities in recognizing the second Monday of October as “Indigenous Peoples Day”.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports. 

The observance follows a Eugene City Council resolution last March.  It echoes a proposal by a Native American delegation to the UN nearly 40 years ago.

Brenda Brainard is a member of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indian nations, and heads the 4-J School District's Natives Program.  She says for decades, American communities have observed "Columbus Day"...which left Indian kids feeling out of place and generalized. 

"Y'know, it's '1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.." to discover us.  We teach that Indians were here, but we don't teach who native people really are," says Brainard.  "They're all just kinda lumped together in this big tipi-living, kinda buffalo-hunting, group." 

Credit Flickr.com's Erik Drost
Columbus statue, NYC.

Brainard hopes people learn about the diversity of native people, as well as their history.

Caitlin Estes, a spokeswoman for the Eugene City Council, says the resolution had strong support.

"The West Coast has many people who are Native Americans and it seemed like an appropriate change," she tells KLCC.  "And many other cities across the country have made the change.

Corvallis, Portland, and Seattle also observe Indigenous Peoples Day. 

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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