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Saginaw marks Indigenous Peoples' Day with historical marker honoring the Anishinaabe people

Saginaw's Ojibway Island now has a marker honoring the Anishinaabe people
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Saginaw's Ojibway Island now has a marker honoring the Anishinaabe people.

Across Michigan Monday, communities marked Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

More than a dozen states recognize some version of Indigenous Peoples' Day.

In Saginaw, community members and tribal leaders dedicated a new marker on Ojibway Island, honoring the history of the Anishinaabe people.

Frank Cloutier is a council member of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe. He said it’s significant to have the marker on Ojibway Island, which has always been important to the region’s native people.

“We feel blessed that we have the opportunity to start getting the attention that the history deserves,” said Cloutier.

Cloutier would like to see children taught about the history of Indigenous people in school, including history that tribes in Michigan may wish happened in a different way.

For example, at the other end of Saginaw’s Ojibway Island is a monument to “the first white man in the Saginaw Valley.”

The monument erected in 1952 honors Father Henri Nouvel, a Jesuit missionary who visited the region in 1675. Nouvel is revered by Catholics. But some locally have questioned honoring a white man when Indigenous people who had lived in the region were pushed out with violence and economic oppression.

Frank Cloutier feels there is room for both markers on Ojibway Island.

“I’ve had a long history of being opposed to erasing our history,” said Cloutier. “When you have a zero tolerance, you lose the opportunity to learn.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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