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Nokomis Cultural Heritage Center to hold Michigan Indian Day potluck

a flier for Michigan Indian Day potluck feast

The Nokomis Cultural Heritage Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the culture and history of Anishinaabe people of the Great Lakes region, is celebrating Michigan Indian Day by hosting a potluck feast Friday, September 22 at 6 PM.

The potluck will feature a presentation by Joseph Webster, a Muscogee elder who lobbied to establish Michigan Indian Day in the 1970s. Friday’s event comes after a prior “Michigan Indian Day Pow Wow” on the Michigan State Capitol lawn was cancelled.

“We decided to do this at the last minute,” said event organizer Julia Tehuano.

Tehuano, a member of the Comanche Nation, expressed her enthusiasm in honoring Indigenous communities, saying tribal holidays like Michigan Indian Day have not been given enough attention by the broader public.

“What I've learned from my elders is that we need something to look forward to. Some way to come together as a community,” said Tehuano.

The commemorative day was established in 1974 when the Michigan Legislature passed Act 30, establishing the annual observance on the fourth Friday of September. Michigan Indian Day is not a legal holiday but was officially recognized by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights for the first time in 2015.

Tehuano, a history major at Michigan State University, said the event gives her hope as an Indigenous American who often sees harrowing accounts of the Native American experience in media.

“It's important to have holidays, just something you can celebrate after all the genocide and the oppression and boarding schools and everything that's happened to us as a people,” she said. “We need to do things for ourselves that express pride and joy.”

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