Oneida Nation celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day

It’s a time to celebrate and honor Native American histories and cultures.
Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 3:07 PM CDT
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ONEIDA, Wis. (WBAY) - Native American tribes across Northeast Wisconsin celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day on Monday. It’s a time to celebrate and honor Native American histories and cultures.

The annual ceremony at Oneida Nation was much different this year because of the pandemic but it held a familiar message.

“We’re here for the long haul, and we’re dedicated to our community, to our families, and dedicated to the protection of our people, our land and our resources,” said Tehassi Hill, Chairman of Oneida Nation.

Fourteen states, including Wisconsin, now observe Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Christopher Columbus Day.

“Puts into context that we’ve been here, and only celebrating Columbus Day, that he discovered America, really discredits, and doesn’t acknowledge that we were here first,” said Brandon Yellowbird Stevens, Vice Chair of Oneida Nation.

There are hundreds of individually unique tribal nations across the U.S and while there’s been progress in spreading the message, Oneida Nation said there’s still a ways to go.

“We can see that there’s vast differences, and then there’s a lot to learn, we have a lot to provide and that we contributed a lot, through history,” said Yellowbird Stevens.

In this pandemic, the tribe, which centers itself around family and community, has had to adjust and make sacrifices.

“Gaming - being shut down for about 68 days that’s obviously our main revenue driver, to provide government services and programs to our communities and employ people, and so that was very tough, having to go through laying off about 1500 employees at one point, was a struggle, very hard to do knowing how it affects our community and families,” said Hill.

As they take it one day at a time, the tribe’s message today is to acknowledge, educate, and celebrate our Native American neighbors.

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