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IPD supporters once again disgraced by council vote

E. I. Hillin / Red Dirt Report
Darian Storms, 22, holds her sign at the city council meeting on Tuesday. Storms is a student at the University of Oklahoma Student, which honors the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Storms said she wanted to show her support for IPD.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – “We will be back,” was the overwhelming response from citizens after a resolution recognizing the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day failed for a second time.

At the city council meeting Tuesday, Councilman Ed Shadid said he believes the resolution is a part of a movement and will inevitably pass. IPD supporters voiced their frustration and also vowed their return.

Fifteen citizens spoke before the council in support of the resolution abolishing Columbus Day and replacing it with IPD. Those who voted in favor of the resolution included Shadid (Ward 2), Pete White (Ward 4), and John Pettis (Ward 7).

Supporters represented a variety of cultures, tribes, and Oklahoma organizations. Representation was seen from Black Lives Matter, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Center for Conscience in Action, and Amnesty OKC.

Italian-American Anna Facci, representing the Council on American-Islamic Relations OK, speaks to councilmembers about her support for the abolishing of Columbus Day and the replacement of IPD. 

None of the citizens who spoke were in support of a second resolution proposed by Councilmen James Greiner and Mark Stonecipher. The resolution the two councilmen added to the agenda was to designate Aug. 9 as IPD, a day correlating with the United Nations recognition of Indigenous People.

The resolution brought criticism from IPD supporters because the two councilmen had not made an effort to collaborate or communicate with the groups involved in the planning and creation of IPD, specifically Live Indigenous OK.

Sydne Gray, Muscogee-Creek Nation member, voiced her support in recognizing IPD on the second Monday in October and said the resolution proposed by Greiner and Stonecipher was “not an act of good will, but a slap in the face” to IPD supporters.

After the citizens spoke, each councilmember added their input on why they were in favor or against the proposed resolutions. Three people voted in favor of the resolution recognizing Aug. 9 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Those included councilmembers Greiner and Stonecipher, and Mayor Cornett.

IPD supporters listen as citizens urge the councilmembers to approve a resolution that recognizes the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. A total of 15 citizens spoke to the council on the matter on Tuesday morning.

Those who opposed the resolution replacing Columbus Day with IPD included Mayor Mick Cornett, Greiner (Ward 1), Larry McAtee (Ward 3), David Greenwell (Ward 5), Meg Salyer (Ward 6), and Mark Stonecipher (Ward 8).

A brief summary of their comments are as follows:

Cornett said the city does not recognize Columbus Day.

Greiner said having IPD on Aug. 9 would be more inclusive.

IPD supporters listen as citizens urge the councilmembers to approve a resolution that recognizes the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. A total of 15 citizens spoke to the council on the matter on Tuesday morning.

McAtee said he had not had time to speak with the most influential American-Indian in the state yet, who he would not name.

Greenwell suggested the city celebrate several different American-Indian heroes including Sequoyah, Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe, and artist Allan Houser. He however didn’t suggest a time period for those recognitions.

Salyer said the Red Earth Festival already celebrates Native heritage.

Stonecipher said he didn’t want to make a divisive move against Italian-Americans.

Councilman Ed Shadid speaks to other councilmembers on Tuesday. He said he has received many emails supporting IPD on the second Monday in October, but has yet to receive any emails that did not support the resolution. 

Shadid said the resolution to recognize the second Monday in October as IPD will return next year. He also voiced his empathy and called upon the other councilmembers to recognize the pain felt by IPD supporters, and urged the council to help in the healing process.

“I think it goes beyond just Columbus and what happened in 1492,” Shadid said. “It’s the entire situation, the entire history...it’s a very real part of our history and we can embrace that and discuss it openly.”

Photos by Red Dirt Report's E. I. Hillin.

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E.I. Hillin

Elizabeth Ivy Hillin, 30, grew up in Lindsay, Okla., where the dirt is definitely red. Hillin...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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