Bloomington, Indiana- Indigenous Peoples Day honors the Indigenous peoples of North America in all their diversity and complexity. Although not a federal holiday, it is celebrated by more than a dozen states and more than 130 cities. In 2018, Mayor Hamilton proclaimed October 8 as Indigenous Peoples Day (https://bton.in/zVsKa), making Bloomington the first city in Indiana to recognize this significant day. And the following year, Bloomington City Council voted to declare every second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples Day in Bloomington (https://bton.in/90HHw). Today is a day to honor and reflect on the arts, culture and history of Indigenous and indigenous peoples, as well as to consider our shared history and what we can learn from it.
Indigenous peoples lived in the area that became Indiana long before the arrival of European settlers. Their contributions to this region and our ability to live and work this land are immeasurable. We are connected to this land and to the strong and resilient ancient peoples who called it home.
Indigenous cultures of the woods developed domesticated varieties of wild plants and used local clay to make pottery. The surrounding limestone, which they used to temper this clay, was sculpted almost a thousand years later by skilled craftsmen into finely detailed images for use on buildings and monuments in Indiana and the United States. . Indiana University is largely built with this local limestone. The history of this land and the people who lived there is tied to the people who live, work and learn here today.
“Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity to celebrate the cultures and values that Indigenous peoples in our region bring to communities in Bloomington, throughout Indiana and around the world,” said Mayor John Hamilton.
Part of being a city that believes in progress and fairness is being a city that takes all of its history into account. For this reason we acknowledge this day and each time we gather in this place we acknowledge the history of this land with spoken acknowledgment of the land.
We acknowledge that the City of Bloomington is located on Indigenous lands. The city and the city’s administrative buildings sit on the traditional homelands of the people of Miami, Delaware, Potawatomi and Shawnee and we recognize that they are the past, present and future stewards of this land.
We also recognize that much of the economic progress and development of Indiana and specifically Bloomington has resulted from the unpaid labor and forced servitude of people of color – especially the diminished African workforce in slavery.
We recognize that this land remains home and a site of gathering and healing for many Indigenous peoples and other people of color and we are committed to the work necessary to create and promote a more equitable and just Bloomington.
We move forward knowing and acknowledging our rich, complicated and sometimes painful past so that we can learn from it and create a true land of opportunity.
Learn more about Indiana’s Native history by visiting:
Read the 2022 White House Indigenous Peoples Day Proclamation at https://bton.in/XjwOO
Indigenous Peoples Day is recognized annually by the City of Bloomington, but is only observed as an official holiday in non-election years. The city’s next date is October 13, 2025. During election years, primary elections and general elections are observed.