The Lawrence City Commission unanimously voted and declared October 12 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day at a meeting last night. Haskell students, faculty and supporters of the motion were thrilled their efforts paid off.
Many supporters arrived at City Hall and spoke on behalf of the community to show just how significant this vote is to them.
“Through this, we’re strengthening our community between Haskell and between Lawrence,” Haskell student Barbara Wolfin said.
The commissioners reflected back to last October when over 100 people marched from Haskell Indian Nations University to City Hall. There, the students and staff asked the city to recognize this holiday instead of Columbus Day.
“One of the things that really made me stop and think was the number of people that just stopped by and thanked me for reading the proclamation. I thought, it really makes it all worth it,” Mayor Mike Amyx said. “I was very proud to do that last October, but I’m probably more proud this evening to be able to help pass a small part of this resolution.”
The rest of the commissioners agreed with Amyx and the necessity to pass this request, including Vice Mayor Leslie Soden.
“I think this is really an important step for our city especially because we have Haskell in our city to acknowledge this,” Soden said. “There are other cultures that exist that are just as valiant as the dominant majority and to uphold those just as much as we do our own.”
The commissioners had no deliberation and no oppositions against the motion to approve the annual holiday. The community voiced their excitement, acknowledging the commissioners and the city’s efforts in building a strong relationship with Haskell.
“It says more about coexisting than identifying our differences and being able to celebrate and I mean that’s super, super important,” The Indian Leader Editor Lori Hasselman said.
Commissioners are now working on getting school districts to recognize the holiday on their calendars.
The Resolution established October 12 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, an annual recurring event in Lawrence.