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Indigenous People’s Day observed at Myrick Park

Brad Williams

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Organizer Jacqueline Marcou, La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat, and school superintendent Randy Nelson receive blankets for their roles in promoting an Indigenous People's Day celebration at Myrick Park

For the second consecutive year, the city of La Crosse replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.

This time, the community marked the occasion on Monday with an afternoon celebration at Myrick Park, featuring Native American music, dancing and ceremonial costumes.

Mayor Tim Kabat said it’s important for La Crosse to remember the history of the Ho Chunk and other native people who lived in the region long before Christopher Columbus, who never did step foot on North American soil.

“Columbus had nothing to do with finding the United States,” Kabat said at the celebration. “It was already here, there were already people living here, and I think it’s great that we’re setting that record straight.”

Kabat added that he hopes La Crosse is starting an “incredible tradition” with the new celebration.

Ho-Chunk elder Gordon Thunder addressed dozens at the ceremony, recalling past treaties between the locals and the white settlers.

“The Ho-Chunks thought this was gonna be something that would last forever,” he said. “We would be able to live among ourselves … enjoying every day.”

Thunder said, while the treaties didn’t turn out the way the Ho-Chunk had expected, he’s pleased that indigenous people are still in the area to enjoy the holiday.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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    Randy J Hubert

    October 14, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Maybe only Indigenous government workers should get a paid holiday since it isn’t Columbus day any more. Lets just change all our history when someone doesn’t agree with it.

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