Indigenous Peoples’ Day: History, Meaning and Critical Current Issues

This October 14, 2019 is the first Vermont official Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The bill makes Vermont one of the first states to legally rename Columbus Day, following the example of New Mexico and South Dakota (where the second Monday in October is called Native American Day). Similar legislation in Maine is currently awaiting the governor’s signature.

The University of Vermont acknowledges this historic event with inviting a keynote speaker Sarah Adams-Cornell, an advocate for Native American culture, education and rights. She is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, who co-created a inter-tribal women empowering organization called “Matriarch” in Oklahoma, serves on the Board of Directors for ACLU of Oklahoma and is an activist in Residence at the University of Oklahoma. Her work encompasses child welfare, environment justice, LGBTQ equality, Native mascot issues and women’s rights.

Sarah has worked alongside other advocates to eliminate Land Run Reenactments and Native mascots in OKC Public Schools and co-created a new program called Oklahoma History Day, a diverse and accurate account of Oklahoma history through statehood.

Her talk will expand your understanding of the significance of this holiday, both historical and within the larger national conversations on Indigenous rights. The goal is continue to inform our UVM communities of learning, how to address injustice through education, openness, integrity, justice, respect and responsibility.