Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre will host the inaugural "Cultural Connections" Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration this Monday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m.
Join the Detroit Lakes Public Schools' Native American Education Program and the Detroit Lakes Drum & Dance Team for this free, public celebration, titled "Cultural Connections: An Indigenous Peoples' Day Event." The event will feature an informative narrative about the Ojibwe culture and its history in the lakes area, interspersed with performances by the local drum and dance group, which includes more than two dozen Native American students from Detroit Lakes Public Schools.
"The kids have been practicing really hard," says Emily Buermann, who has been a parent volunteer for the Detroit Lakes Drum & Dance Team since it began last year, and is one of the organizers of Monday's event. "They practice every Monday and Thursday, all year long, from September to May."
Buermann, who is also vice chairwoman of the Parent Advisory Committee for the Detroit Lakes Native American Education Program, added that the speakers — herself and Mike Swan, the Native American cultural liaison for Detroit Lakes Public Schools — will be presenting information about local Ojibwe culture and history, including a bit about the history and cultural significance of the songs and dances being performed, as well as the regalia that the performers will be wearing, and the drums they will be using.
She added that the event is being called "Cultural Connections" because it is intended to forge a greater understanding and acceptance between the native and non-native cultures that co-exist, both within the community of Detroit Lakes and surrounding areas.
What is Indigenous Peoples' Day?
Since 2016, the government of Minnesota has officially designated the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day. For decades prior to that, however, the day had still been celebrated in many areas of the state as the nationally recognized federal holiday known as Columbus Day.
The celebration of Columbus Day has become increasingly controversial since the 1970s, as more and more Native Americans across the country began to voice their objections to honoring Christopher Columbus, a man known for his role in the colonization of much of the Western Hemisphere by European nations. Essentially, their objections lie in the fact that much of this colonization took the form of violent subjugation of the native peoples of the lands they wished to colonize.
More and more, the native populations of those lands have begun to call on their local governments to honor that history by designating the federal holiday as Indigenous Peoples' Day rather than Columbus Day. To date, Minnesota and four other states across the U.S. have done so. South Dakota was the first, in 1989; in 2016, Minnesota and Alaska followed suit, while Vermont and Wisconsin implemented similar measures in 2019 — in fact, the Wisconsin governor's declaration of Indigenous Peoples' Day occurred just this past week.
Also this week
Also coming up next weekend are the Becker County Museum's annual "Spooktober" flashlight tours, which are co-sponsored by the local paranormal investigation group Midwest Paranormal Files.
The "spookier" version of the tour, titled "After Dark at the Museum: Flashlight Tours & Frightful Tales," is Friday, Oct. 18. Guided tours will be at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Because some of the stories told as part of this tour are not suitable for young children, the museum has recommended that parents not bring along any kids younger than age 10 — and all those under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Cost for the tour is $10 per person; call the museum at 218-847-2938 to reserve your spot, as space on each tour is limited.
So that the younger kids won't feel left out, however, there will be a "Family Friendly Flashlight Tour" on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. This tour is suitable for all ages, and the cost is $5 per person. Space for this tour is also limited, however, so those planning to attend are asked to call the museum and reserve their spot.