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How Quad Cities organizations recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day

The holiday is a day to reflect on contributions made by Indigenous communities with this year is the first time it’s formally recognized on an executive branch level.
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 7:31 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES (KWQC) - The second Monday in October is typically observed as Columbus day but it also falls on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The holiday is a day to reflect on contributions made by Indigenous communities with this year being the first time it’s formally recognized on an executive branch level.

Generational traditions run deep for Josephine Ironshield, with a family history stemming from Standing Rock. She said she’s noticing an increase in recognition more and more each year, especially with the help of social media

“Having people to be able to get online and be able to teach themselves, and watch documentaries, learn about the issues that we worry about, our concerns,” said Ironshield, " I think the internet plays a really big role with that.”

Ironshield and her sister started Sage Sisters of Solidarity, a grassroots Native American organization.

A formal presidential proclamation was set in place declaring October 11th of this year as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Ironshield credits Deb Haaland, the first Native American secretary of Interior, for bringing more awareness on the executive branch level.

Larry Lockwood, the Cultural Educator of the Native American Coalition of the Quad Cities said it’s about reclaiming Native American heritage.

“Part of the history of Native Americans and the communities as we’ve come out in the reservations and gone into the communities, a lot of that, we’re regaining our cultural items, and some of the social activities that we used to do and ceremonial activities that we used to do too,” he said.

Bringing issues impacting their community to the forefront like murdered and missing Indigenous people.

“One of the things that is being raised on a national level is the awareness of our Native American women, and our communities and I think that is a truly an unsung song that John Q Public doesn’t really realize about where the real strength is and are unique,” Lockwood said.

Lockwood said teaching the next generation about history is already well underway.

“Many of us are empowered by the very educational system that at one time, really just to tried to beat us down and beat the Indian out of us. So I’m really happy that I can have the drum out. That I can go share my heritage with school kids, kids from all nations. The true teaching of our Native American heritage is one of equality of the four races in the medicine wheel and all the teachings and all the living things that are a part of it.”

“We hope that this is our time to be noticed. We’re hoping that this time that schools can start teaching the truth about Native Americans, indigenous people,” Ironshield said.

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