Greetings! We have been working on Renaming Columbus Day rather intensely for the past recent weeks. Starting with a contact with Frank Bibeau, the attorney for White Earth Reservation working on pipeline issues, we asked for contacts we might approach to open dialog with the native community. He suggested talking with Annamarie Hill, executive director for the MN Indian Affairs Council. I had a very informative and delightful telephone conversation with her, and on her suggestion, wrote Jay Badheart Bull, of the Native American Community Development Institute, one of the major initiators of the Mpls City Council change from Columbus Day on their official stationery to Indigenous People's Day. Mr. Bull sent information on the strategy that was set up to accomplish this, at the end of which, on the day of the vote, hundreds of supporters turned up to support the change. His organization is planning to use the same approaches in St Paul, and going statewide in 2015! good news for us!!
This was a circuitous route, but is building a great base for contacts as we go. In addition, we heard from Pilgrim House (UU), and Unity Unitarian, from the letter campaign, supporting the effort. In addition, and this is really great, people in Grand Rapids are holding an event on October 14, asking if that city should make the change; sponsored by Circles of Support, it will be held at the public library. The panelists include one person on our ad hoc email list, who are in support of our work. Circles is a native group.A Brainerd city councilman, Chip Borgenhagen, introduced a motion to change from Columbus Day to a day honoring native people, but he felt that the negative comments published in the Dispatch were too virulent to deal with, and withdrew his motion.
We at NUUF, are considering the Renaming of Columbus Day as a vehicle to engage the public in the broader effort to educate regarding the Doctrine of Discover, and the need to repudiate its effects in law, culture, societal relations. A great first step in a very visible way, with something everyone knows about.
On the pipeline protest front, Enbridge is delaying construction, not yet able to meet the need of the Public Utilities Commission to look at other routes outside the northern watershed region. If there had not been so much opposition, they would already be laying pipe!
Respectfully submitted, Mary DeYoung news director NUUF 218-587-2543