Government Acknowledgements

Cities, states, nations, and the United Nations have passed resolutions and made other public statements acknowledging the historic and ongoing harm done to Native Americans and other indigenous peoples through colonialism.

U.N. Declaration
U.N. Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People, adopted by the United Nations on Sept. 13, 2007. The vote was 143-4, with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States voting no. Since the vote, all four countries have moved to adopt the Declaration: Australia (April 3, 2009), New Zealand (April 19, 2010), and Canada (Nov. 12, 2010). U.S. President Barak Obama announced in December 2010 that the United States would endorse the Declaration.

United States
Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010, signed by President Obama on December 19, 2009, is an apology to Native Peoples of the United States.

Australia
National Sorry Day, Australia: On May 26, 1998, Australia held its first National Sorry Day to acknowledge and remember the mistreatment of its indigenous peoples. Sorry Day was established the year after the federal Parliament tabled Bringing them Home: The Stolen Children, a report by the Australian Human Rights Commission which documented the policies and impacts of forced removal of aboriginal children from their families. See the Community Guide to the Bringing Them Home report.

Canada
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, created on June 1, 2008, with a five-year mandate to allow former students and anyone affected by the Indian Residential Schools legacy to have the opportunity to share their individual experiences “in a safe and culturally appropriate manner.”

New Zealand
New Zealand Reconciliation with the Maori: The government of New Zealand has made numerous settlements to redress violations of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, which established British government on the island and guaranteed the Maori their land rights.

Minnesota
Statement Commemorating the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, from Governor Mark Dayton in 2012, which marked the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War. Dayton repudiated the words of then Gov. Alexander Ramsey who called for the extermination of Dakota people. Dayton also repudiated the acts of violence committed against innocent Dakota people that took place.

Maine
Maine Wabanaki – State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, focuses on what happened to Wabanaki people involved with the Maine child welfare system. It is the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission between a sovereign Tribal Nation and a U.S. State.

Minneapolis: Indigenous Peoples Day
Indigenous Peoples Day: On April 25, 2014, the Minneapolis City Council voted to designate October 12 as Indigenous Peoples Day. See the City of Minneapolis media release and StarTribune story about this resolution.

Minneapolis: Year of the Dakota
Year of the Dakota: On December 14, 2012, the Minneapolis City Council passed the resolution, Recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and declaring 2013 the Year of the Dakota.

Red Wing: Indigenous Peoples Day
Chief Red Wing Day: On April 28, 2014, the Red Wing City Council approved the resolution, redesignating Columbus Day as Chief Red Wing Day. According to the city website, the change focuses more on the dry legal process of how the city changed the name rather than on the fundamental reasons why city leaders thought it was important to change the name. See the Minnesota Historical Society website for information on Chief Red Wing.

St. Paul: Indigenous Peoples Day
Indigenous Peoples Day: On August 12, 2015, the St. Paul City Council passed an indigenous-peoples-day-resolution designating the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, a dual designation along with Columbus Day.

St. Paul: Year of the Dakota
Year of the Dakota: On January 9, 2013, the Saint Paul City Council adopted a year-of-the-dakota-resolution. It recogned the 150th anniversary of the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and declared 2013 the Year of the Dakota. It was similar to the city of Minneapolis resolution, but contained the following addition: ”

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Saint Paul and its Parks and Recreation Department will work with the Dakota Bdote Restoration Consortium to identify, name, and interpret sacred Native American sites at and nearby the sacred Bdote from the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers to Mounds Park; including listing, mapping, identifying Dakota site names in the Great River Passage Plan, and participating in on-going collaborative research to further describe, dually name, publicize, and interpret significant Dakota sites in the Great River Passage Park Implementation …