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Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day by learning more about First Nations cultures

Indigenous Peoples’ Day BannerOn Monday, October 9, Milwaukee Public Schools encourages students and families to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day by honoring the identities and cultures of First Nations Peoples.  

The Milwaukee Board of School Directors in 2020 made the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Milwaukee Public Schools. Governor Ever’s Executive Order #50 in 2019 declared this day Indigenous Peoples Day across the state of Wisconsin.  

Along with the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and other states, cities, school districts, and organizations, Milwaukee Public Schools celebrates the thriving cultures and values of Indigenous Peoples and stands in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples everywhere, on a day that historically has been exclusively observed as Columbus Day. 

In MPS schools, students will take part in activities, lessons, and observances to learn more about the histories, values, cultures, and accomplishments of Native American Nations. MPS families and community members are encouraged to celebrate and learn more about First Nations communities on October 9 and all times of the year in the following ways: 

Start your day, meeting, or gathering with the MPS Land Acknowledgement 

Many governmental agencies and other organizations have developed land acknowledgments to show respect for the Native groups who occupied these spaces before colonial contact and who live here today. Read and share the MPS Land Acknowledgment when you are in Milwaukee and challenge yourself or your organization to develop your own. Use this declaration to start a meeting, class, or workday. 

Watch a Webinar: National Museum of the American Indian  

Covering topics such as sovereignty, Indigenous artists, Indigenous food systems, water and food justice, Thanksgiving through Native eyes, environmental challenges, Indigenous Earth law, and more, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian has recorded webinars for you to expand your knowledge.  

Learn what really happened in “Unlearning Columbus Day Myths: Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day” 

 Separate fact from myth about Christopher Columbus and the devastating impact of European settlers on Native Americans. Read more on the National Museum of the American Indian website. 

Learn about the First Nations that share geography with Wisconsin 

 Wisconsin is home to 11 federally recognized tribes and one tribe seeking federal recognition.  Find out about the cultures and traditions that have shaped their communities. 

  • Stories of Native Communities: Explore the website The Ways. Through videos and writings, Great Lakes Native cultures and languages are celebrated. Find articles, maps, and videos with stories about culture and language from Native communities around the central Great Lakes. 

  • Tribal Histories Series: Listen to elders sharing the stories of their communities. Episodes, produced by PBS Wisconsin, are 30 minutes. Featured are all 11 federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands in Wisconsin, plus one tribe that is seeking to regain its federal status. Visit Tribal Histories | Watch on PBS Wisconsin

Learn more about National Indigenous Peoples’ Day 

 Hear from Indigenous individuals about the meaning of their cultural identity in this video:  
Be Indigenous — National Indigenous Peoples Day 

Attend a pow wow 

Anyone can attend the Hunting Moon Pow Wow on October 20-22 at Potawatomi Casino Hotel, 1721 W. Canal St., Milwaukee. Attendees will see drumming, dancing, and singing competitions, plus the pageantry of grand entries at 7:00 p.m. October 20, 1:00 and 7:00 p.m. October 21, and 12:00 p.m. October 22. Admission is free. Children younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  

For more information and resource recommendations, contact Katy Bontempo, Act 31 Teacher with First Nations Studies in MPS: email or call (414) 902-9666. 


Stephen Davis, Media Relations Manager
(414) 475-8675
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About Milwaukee Public Schools

Milwaukee Public Schools is committed to accelerating student achievement, building positive relationships between youth and adults and cultivating leadership at all levels. The district’s commitment to improvement continues to show results:

  • Ninety-four percent of 2022-23 budget dollars go to support schools;
  • The MPS Class of 2023 earned $121 million in scholarships and grants; and
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