Menomonie and Dunn County’s will celebrate its first statewide Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, October 14, 2019. As part of its speaker series, the Dunn County Historical Society will present Here 10,000 Years: A Brief Long History on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 1:30 at the Rassbach Museum in Menomonie’s Wakanda Park.
The Menomonie City Council and Dunn County Board have each unanimously voted to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day. The holiday celebrates and honors Native Americans and commemorates their shared history and culture. It began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the federal Columbus Day holiday. Four states currently recognize the holiday and it is gaining momentum among communities across the nation.
Historian Frank Smoot will present a short but sweeping history of the indigenous people who’ve lived in this area for more than 10,000 years.
“One of the stories history books tended to tell was that the pioneers tamed an empty wilderness when Europeans first came here,” said Smoot. “But really, people have been living right here in what’s now Dunn County forever, and other groups have been traveling through for hundreds of years. That’s actually a much more interesting story than the one we typically tell.”
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Smoot will talk about settlement of the Red Cedar valley from the Clovis people of 11,000 years ago to the Ojibwe and Dakota who still live in the area today.
Mary Riordan will speak about the significance of Indigenous People’s Day and the local effort to recognize it in Menomonie and Dunn County.
The event is open to the public – all are welcome and encouraged to attend.