In 2014, the Grand Rapids City Council unanimously passed a resolution to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day (IPD).

“The community events we’re offering this year provide an opportunity to explore and reflect on local and Minnesota history,” said Mayor Dale Adams. “This history is important to understanding the present, and is largely unknown to most who live here.”

“Everyone is invited to the City’s official celebration on Monday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Area Library,” said Melissa Weidendorf, chair of the Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission. “In addition to a reading of the resolution by Mayor Adams, Commissioner Karen Noyce will present her original research about the Grand Rapids area, including Pokegama Lake.”

2017 IPD activities and events are listed below. All are free and open to the public.

Sandy Lake Tragedy of 1850 Essay Contest is now open for Grand Rapids students and residents. See for more information.

October - MacRostie Art Center – Features Gordon Coons, who paints in an Ojibwa woodland art style combining Ojibwa petroglyphs and images and stories from birch bark scrolls. Coons is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe of northern Wisconsin.

Friday, Oct. 6, 4 – 7 p.m. – The inaugural First Friday Art Walk at the YMCA features the award winning Why Treaties Matter Exhibition. Circle of Healing members will be on-hand to answer questions. Refreshments provided by the YMCA.

Monday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m. - Indigenous People’s Day Celebration at the Grand Rapids Area Library. Refreshments provided by Friends of the Library

• Welcome – Human Rights Commission Chair Melissa Weidendorf

• Reading of resolution – Mayor Dale Adams

• Sandy Lake Tragedy of 1850 Essay Contest – Commissioner Jess Hartshorn

• Presentation – “Pokegama, Gichiziibi, and Namegosi: retrieving a neglected history of place” by Commissioner Karen Noyce. In reconstructing a map of the local landscape as it was in the mid-to-late 1800s, and tying historic events to the context of place, Commissioner Noyce stitches together some of these neglected historic threads.

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Itasca Area YMCA – “Tribes, Connections and Treaties” Presentation with Jim L. Jones Jr., Cultural Resource Director for the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. Jim’s talk explores how treaties affect land and lifeways and will include the traditional cultural properties in our area.

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 4 – 7 p.m. – Taking Care of Business Networking Event, Timberlake Lodge. Stop by the Circle of Healing booth to learn about the 1855 treaty that made way for the City of Grand Rapids to exist – and why this supreme law of the land is everyone’s treaty today.

Friday, Oct. 13, 5:30 - 8 p.m. – Central Square Mall - Screening of the award-winning film, Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian. Cree Filmmaker Neil Diamond looks at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema. Reel Injun looks at how the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding — and misunderstanding — of Natives. Pizza and refreshments served.

Friday, Oct. 20 – Sandy Lake Tragedy of 1850 Essay Contest submissions due. Email to or mailed/delivered to Grand Rapids City Hall C/O Michele Palkki, 420 North Pokegama Ave., Grand Rapids, MN, 55744

Monday, Nov. 13, 5 p.m., Grand Rapids City Hall – Sandy Lake Tragedy of 1850 Essay Contest winners announced at the City Council Meeting.

Additional information about the 2017 Indigenous People’s Day activities and events, are on the City of Grand Rapids website.


Recommended for you

Load comments