All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Indigenous Peoples' Day gaining momentum in Oklahoma

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Native American activist Sarah Adams-Cornell speaks with Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid after an OKC council meeting where the issue of Indigenous Peoples' Day was addressed.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – On Sept. 14th, the Anadarko City Council voted unanimously to honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday of October, replacing the divisive holiday known as Columbus Day.

Anadarko, it should be noted, is now one of a handful of progressive municipalities that has passed this type of proclamation in the nation, and the first in Oklahoma.

As Anadarko Mayor Kyle Eastwood told Red Dirt Report earlier this month, “Here we are in 2015, rectifying a past wrong. I think it may be a little past due, but it’s done. And we’re leading the state in this regard.”

In Anadarko, Indigenous People's Day will be celebrated on October 12th, 2015 and will be observed as a city wide holiday. Anadarko city employees will be given the day off from work. Later today, Red Dirt Report will be in Anadarko to report on the official signing of the Indigenous Peoples' Day proclamation.

And as we reported two weeks ago, the City Council of Oklahoma City heard impassioned pleas from local Native Americans who explained to the council members why honoring imperialist, genocidal explorer Christopher Columbus is outrageous and insulting to indigenous people in the Americas and why the capital city of a state with a large indigenous population should follow Anadarko’s (and cities outside of Oklahoma) and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Of course most schoolchildren are taught early on that Columbus "sailed the ocean blue" in 1492, "discovering" America, while saying little else about Columbus's bloody legacy. 

Talking with Native American activist Sarah Adams-Cornell, a Choctaw from Oklahoma City, she told Red Dirt Report that Tuesday’s meeting agenda includes the fact that Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid, Ward 4 Councilman Pete White and Ward 7 Councilman John A. Pettis, Jr. have all co-sponsored the resolution to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

A framed image of Christopher Columbus on the wall of a Catholic bookstore in Oklahoma City. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

Adams-Cornell said the full council is expected to vote on the resolution. She encourages people to come to the City Council chambers and show their support. The council meeting begins at 8:30 a.m., although she said the resolution is a later agenda item and could be an hour or more later.

“We have four speakers lined up to speak.,” Adams-Cornell said. “We’ll explain why we’d like to see Indigenous Peoples’ Day happen in Oklahoma City. And speaking will be women from various tribes. We’ll also be touching upon historical relevance and what other communities have done.”

Additionally, Adams-Cornell noted that Native American activists brought a version of the OKC resolution before the Student Government Association’s Senate at the University of Oklahoma and that the SGA unanimously passed a resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At this point it has to go through another student organization before being officially recognized by the university.

She said that regardless of how the vote at OU ultimately turns out, on Monday, Oct. 12th, there will be an Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration on OU’s South Oval, starting at 8:30 a.m. and lasting all day.

“We’re inviting anyone who wants to celebrate (Indigenous Peoples’ Day) to come celebrate with us on the South Oval,” Adams-Cornell said. “There will be a grand procession into the South Oval and a traditional blessing, followed by a reading of the resolution.”

For those with questions, there will be an “Ask an Indian” table, as well as a Indian Law group which will answer any legal questions people may have.

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

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

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK