Indigenous Peoples Day: raising awareness about Native American community

participant in GVSU pow wow, wearing white regalia
A participant in a past GVSU Pow Wow is pictured. The City of Grand Rapids has proclaimed the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day.
Image Credit: University Communications

Lin Bardwell, program coordinator for Grand Valley's Native American Student Initiative, said anytime conversations are prompted about Native Americans, it's a good thing.

Bardwell played a key role in co-creating a proclamation that declared the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day. 

Bardwell represented the Odawa tribe when creating and writing the proclamation with representatives of other Native American tribes in the area. Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss declared Indigenous Peoples Day to "recognize, celebrate and honor the values that Anishinaabek (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi) People of the Three Fires brought to the city."

"The proclamation gives an opportunity for more people to ask why it's called Indigenous Peoples Day and to start creating conversations," said Bardwell, who was the former chair of the city's Community Relations Commission.

The university's Native American Student Association worked closely with Student Senate and administrators three years ago to declare Indigenous Peoples Day at Grand Valley.