Government

Iowa marks first Indigenous Peoples Day

Second Monday in October was traditionally Columbus Day

The Iowa, United States and Meskwaki Nation flags fly over the Meskwaki Travel Plaza at the Meskwaki Settlement. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
The Iowa, United States and Meskwaki Nation flags fly over the Meskwaki Travel Plaza at the Meskwaki Settlement. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Gov. Kim Reynolds declared Monday as Iowa’s inaugural Indigenous Peoples Day, in recognition of Native Americans who have called the state home “since time immemorial.”

“This day recognizes the land now known as the State of Iowa, named in recognition of the Iowa Tribe, as well as the language used to identify many of our lakes, rivers, cities, counties, schools, buildings and considerably more, and reflects the inherent imprint of Indigenous Peoples,” according to an Iowa Department of Human Rights news release.

The second Monday in October otherwise has been marked as Columbus Day, in honor of the Italian explorer who sailed to the Americas beginning in 1492.

While Columbus Day remains a national holiday, many government entities have opted instead to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.

The legacy of Columbus, which once hinged on and celebrated his exploration of the New World, has shifted in recent years. For some, it has turned to focus on the indigenous genocide that ensued after his arrival. Many Italian-Americans still celebrate Columbus Day.

Reynolds signed a proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, according to the release, “in order to promote appreciation, reconciliation, understanding, friendship and continued partnerships among all of its people and the Indigenous Peoples of this land.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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