LANSING, MI (STL.News) Governor Gretchen Whitmer is celebrating Michigan’s Indigenous population by proclaiming October 11 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day to uplift our country’s Indigenous roots and recognize the history and contributions of Indigenous peoples.
“Today is a day of remembrance, reflection, and celebration of the Indigenous peoples, including those who call Michigan home,” said?Governor Whitmer. “The success of tribal communities is inextricably linked to Michigan’s success, and we must ensure that they have an empowered voice and seat at the table. I am proud to proclaim October 11th as Indigenous Peoples’ Day and celebrate the thriving cultures and values that our tribal communities contribute to our state.”
Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist are committed to working alongside tribal leaders. Last month, they hosted a summit with Michigan’s tribal leaders to address the issues important to their communities and ensure they have an empowered seat at the table as we make meaningful progress on the kitchen-table issues.
In Governor Whitmer’s first year in office, she signed Executive Directive 2019-17 which reaffirms and extends Michigan’s commitment to recognize the sovereignty and right of self-governance of Michigan’s federally-recognized Indian tribes and orders each state department and agency to adhere to these principles. It’s also the first executive directive in Michigan history to require training on tribal-state relations for all state department employees who work on matters that have direct implications for tribes. The executive directive details a process of tribal consultation designed to ensure meaningful and mutually beneficial communication and collaboration between these tribes and the departments and agencies on matters of shared concern.
Governor Whitmer has shown a deep commitment to ensuring members of Michigan’s federally recognized tribes have a seat at the table in state government. She has appointed 39 Native Americans to judgeships, councils, boards, and commissions. Recently, one of those appointees, Bryan Newland, was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, where he will serve Native communities nationwide alongside Secretary Haaland.
“The proclamation for Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a significant step forward in acknowledging the myriad contributions of the first peoples of the Great Lakes region to the culture and economy of Michigan,” said Tribal Chairman Jamie Stuck of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi. “Our contributions include Indigenous traditional crops such as corn and beans that remain today a major part of Michigan’s agricultural economy. There have also been considerable hardships and challenges to be endured, all while maintaining our culture, history, and traditional way of life. This proclamation is a beginning to overcome the struggles of the past and to work together for a better shared future.”
View the full proclamation here.