Moorhead students and families observed Indigenous Peoples Day Monday with a variety of solemn, educational and fun events throughout the two cities, starting with a commemorative event on Veterans Memorial Bridge and winding up with a pow wow in the Moorhead High School gymnasium.
This year marks the third in which Moorhead has set aside the second October Monday to honor the Native Americans who occupied North America long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Fargo made the switch five years ago. The Minnesota Legislature will take up a bill in early 2022 to rename the holiday formerly known as Columbus Day, with District 4-A Rep. Heather Keeler of Moorhead the lead sponsor of the measure.
After an afternoon of educational programs in many schools, students and families gathered at Moorhead High for an intertribal pow wow. After a free dinner of fry bread and fixings, about 300 – many in regalia — gathered in the gym to take part in the dancing. The Grand Entry was led by a color guard from the Moorhead American Legion, along with representatives of the Moorhead and Fargo Indian Education Programs and pow wow royalty.
“After a difficult year of awareness of the children discovered in graves at Indian schools and the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, this was an opportunity to spend joyful time together,” Keeler said.
Among the pow wow crowd were a number of local leaders, including members of the Clay County Commission and Moorhead City Council. The council rescheduled its regular meeting on the second Monday to Tuesday to accommodate the event.