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Charlottesville celebrates first Indigenous Peoples Day

Charlottesville celebrates first Indigenous Peoples Day

Walker issued a proclamation in 2015 that made Alaska the first state to officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day. "It's these people who don't know the true history and if you want to praise somebody who got lost at sea, landed on a rock and was welcomed by people and then turned around and tried to enslave, then you go on and go ahead and recognize Columbus Day, I won't disrespect you for doing that". Director of the Native American Cultural Center Kelly Fayard, a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, told the News that the celebration was a "great success", despite the heavy rainfall on Sunday and Monday.

"It's definitely grown in scale", said Haylee Kushi '18 (Kanaka Maoli), president of the ANAAY. "It doesn't recognize and we don't speak about the impact that contact had on the indigenous people of our nation", said Darlene Trigg with the Social Justice Task Force in Nome. "But I am going to recognize our indigenous people who have been here for thousands of years".

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She hopes students receive more education about what happened to Native Americans with the arrival of settlers. The invited speaker for Indigenous Peoples' Day this year was Margariata Huayhua, a scholar who studies language and power in Andean communities in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. "The history of this land continues to be written by indigenous people", Mallot added.

Bill Walker and Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott react to performances on October 9, 2017, at the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall.

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During a celebratory event on Monday - originally meant to take place on Cross Campus but moved inside the Schwarzman Center due to rain - attendees watched a round dance performance put on by the Blue Feather Drum Group.

One woman with a deep Monacan heritage says this recognition is a step in the right direction.

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On Monday, both Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot expressed their feelings on the first permanent celebration of the day.