ONEIDA, Wis. (WFRV) – “Back in 2012, we wrote the Oneida Committee wrote the Resolution to declare today Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the Oneida Tribe,” said Oneida Committee Member Dennis Danforth Jr.
Early Monday morning, the Oneida Nation and Oneida committee members gathered on the Oneida Nation Reservation to commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which began October 11, 1992, in opposition to Columbus Day. Oneida officials gave thanks for all creation and read the 2012 Oneida Nation Resolution Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“Our community members have suffered for a long time through intergenerational traumas and a lot of our youth today suffer those same things and they don’t understand why,” continued Danforth. “I’m really happy that all these youth could be here today because that is exactly why we did it, for them and for the future that is yet to come and for the faces that aren’t here today and we really wanted to promote them having a pathway to understanding who we are, why we are, and why we’re so special to this world.”
The Vice Chairman for the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin addressed why the committee wanted to commemorate the day with a traditional ceremony.
“This is about education to share with America and other communities that we have a long history of culture and language and we have a story to tell, that we can be proud to wear our hair long, that we can be proud of speaking our language,” said Brandon Yellowbird-Stevens. “We are teachers, we are public servants, we are committee members, we are everything everyone else is and we want to be able to tell that story and be recognized as such.”
The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary assisted Governor Tony Evers in releasing a rehabilitated red-tailed hawk into the wild to honor the occasion. Governor Evers spoke about the importance of recognizing the holiday.
“My commitment has been and always will be to strengthen our government-to-government relations and partnerships with the tribal nation to ensure that the experiences and perspectives of native people are always included and respected,” said Governor Evers.
The Oneida Nation’s leaders hope that traditional celebrations like this will encourage younger generations to embrace their heritage and culture.
“Maybe this will promote the healing that we need in our communities but also I hope and I encourage that we continue to be recognized and recognize each other as people and to heal our old wounds that we have because they still exist today.”