Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was just one of several local groups that honored Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday. During a special ceremony, the Haudenosaunee flag was raised and a check was presented to the Ride for Roswell
It’s the very first day Indigenous Peoples’ Day is being celebrated as a federal holiday and it coincides with Columbus Day.
“I think this goes a long way towards reparations and towards a healthier relationship between us natives and our neighbors,” said Dr. Montgomery Hill, language activist Tuscarora Nation.
“I have to be honest, it doesn’t have much of an impact on me, because for me, Indigenous Peoples Day is every day,” said Kelle Chew, Tuscarora Nation, daughter of Snipe Clan mother.
Many members of our local indigenous community say the holiday is an opportunity that will usher in education of the indigenous population.
“It’s education. The idea that we go to school all our lives and we get taught things in history. Are they accurate, are they not accurate? Are they one sided?,” said Eliot Jimerson, Seneca Nation Councilman
Having to share the day with Columbus Day is getting some mixed reactions.
“We’re sharing, so we have to live with it. Like I said, we’re not happy about it, but we understand,” said Ernie Lucantonio president of the Cristoforo Colombo Society Niagara Falls.
“To have the President to come out and acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples Day is today, even though Columbus Day is still being celebrated, I look at it as a stepping stone,” said Robert Dalmonte Tuscarora Nation Beaver Clan. “Perhaps in the future, they can eliminate those symbols of colonialism and genocide and fully embrace the message of the Indigenous People.”