The Graduate Student Senate at Oklahoma University (OU) voted unanimously Sept. 27 to mark Indigenous Peoples Day Oct. 12 with a holiday.
Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October. Many argue it is an alternative to the holiday known as Columbus Day -- which is also celebrated on the second Monday of October -- which they say is insulting to Indigenous Peoples because of Columbus’ legacy, Red Dirt Report noted.
The resolution was presented by students from a group called Indigenize OU.
“This proposition is truly to gain support among our community and for OU to officially recognize this holiday on campus,” Sydne Gray, of Indigenize OU, said, according to OU Daily.
“We were thinking of bringing a lot of student bodies and departments […] together for a celebratory holiday with traditional food, dances and modern culture,” Ashley McCray added.
The decision now has to be passed by another student body before finally being signed by the OU President.
Similar moves are taking place throughout Oklahoma. The city of Anadarko adopted a resolution earlier this month to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“Here we are in 2015, rectifying a past wrong. I think it may be a little past due, but it’s done. And we’re leading the state in this regard,” Anadarko mayo Kyle Eastwood told Red Dirt Report.
The Oklahoma City Council will consider a proposal at a meeting Sept. 29 to mark Indigenous Peoples’ day.
“We have four speakers lined up to speak,” said Sarah Adams-Cornell, a Native American activist, according to Red Dirt Report. “We’ll explain why we’d like to see Indigenous Peoples’ Day happen in Oklahoma City. And speaking will be women from various tribes. We’ll also be touching upon historical relevance and what other communities have done.”
Regardless of the outcome of the council’s deliberations, a celebration is being held Oct. 12.
“We’re inviting anyone who wants to celebrate [Indigenous Peoples’ Day] to come celebrate with us on the South Oval,” Adams-Cornell said. “There will be a grand procession into the South Oval and a traditional blessing, followed by a reading of the resolution.”