Image courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Indigenous People’s Day was first proposed as a national holiday in 1977. Many Indigenous nations and allies advocated for replacing Columbus Day with a holiday that recognizes the violent colonization of Native American people by Christopher Columbus and other European settlers. As an alternative, Indigenous People’s Day celebrates the history and culture of Native American communities and offers an opportunity for the nation to confront this oppressive past.

Today, there are more than 5 million Native American people in the United States and 637 recognized tribes with unique cultures, histories, and languages. In Michigan alone, almost 100,000 Native Americans make up twelve federally-recognized tribes. In 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a proclamation to commemorate Indigenous People’s Day and celebrate the historic and ongoing contributions of Native American communities and individuals in Michigan, but more work still needs to be done. Michigan remains only one of a handful of states to acknowledge Indigenous People’s Day in October.

This week, CSS commemorates Indigenous People’s Days and celebrates the contributions of Native American communities alongside the City of Ann Arbor and other cities and institutions across the state. Check out the resources below to learn more about Native American communities in Michigan.



Indigenizing the News
A digital magazine dedicated to representing Indigenous voices in the news and exploring contemporary issues affecting Indigenous communities today.

Native American Studies Research Guide: Michigan’s American Indian Heritage
For a more in-depth look at Native American tribes and heritage in Michigan, check out this research guide by Michigan State University with interactive features and reading recommendations. 

“Debunking 10 misconceptions about Michigan’s Native Americans” by Meghanlata Gupta, Bridge Michigan
A powerful op-ed that confronts harmful stereotypes and narratives about Native American communities in Michigan.

“For the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, this has always been home” by Kaye Lafond and Emma Winowiecki, Michigan Radio
An insightful exploration of the history of the Anishibaabek people in Northern Michigan and the lives of those who continue to live there.

“Michigan full of communities with Native American heritage” by Gene Scott, Hometown Life
A list of places around Michigan that have ties to Native American culture and the history behind them.

“Native Americans: The 12 tribes of Michigan” by Lisa Brody, Downtown Publications
A comprehensive look at the 12 federally recognized tribes of Michigan, interwoven with historical accounts and stories from modern tribal communities.



“Settlers nearly destroyed Michigan’s wild rice beds. Native tribes are restoring them.” by Sophie Sherry, Michigan Radio
Wild rice beds used to dominate most of Michigan’s rivers and lakes, but less than 1 percent of beds remain now. This podcast explores the overlooked history of wild rice in Michigan and the efforts being made to bring back this culturally-significant crop.

“Few Indeginous people see themselves represented in the news. A new project hopes to change that.” by Lia Baldori, Michigan Radio
Less than 0.5% of journalists in leading newspapers and online publications are Native American. The Mishigamiing Journalism Project seeks to change that and elevate Indigenous voices in Michigan where Indigenous issues aren’t often covered in mainstream news.



Native America by PBS (2018)
A powerful television series that explores the unique histories, cultures, and communities of America’s First Peoples.