How do you choose the holidays that your business commemorates?

The following is a guest blog post authored by Diane Dobitz and Briana Baker who are members of the Mankato Indigenous Peoples Day Committee. Their post is a continuation of Scot Zellmer’s post “On Being A Successful Business in an Ever Changing World” and speaks to the importance of commemorating (and not celebrating) Indigenous Peoples Day on October 14th, 2019.

How do you choose the holidays that your business commemorates? As Memorial Day came again, and we honored the men and women who died while serving in the U. S. military, we are reminded that there is real power in selecting those parts of the past that we decide are worthy of honor and how we build upon the legacies of the past in the present.

As Mankato continues to reshape our community identity from a historic place where the largest mass execution by the U.S. government took place with the hanging of 38 Dakota warriors in 1862 to a city that values inclusivity and desires to be a vibrant, growing regional marketplace, businesses have an important role to play. Businesses have the opportunity to let people know they are part of a business community dedicated to being collaborative and inclusive, approachable, ethical and innovative as they work towards sustainable economic growth in our region.

Sometimes America has confused power with greatness. Wise people know genuine greatness is not a matter of mere power; it is a matter of integrity and relationship. A growing business in Mankato that wants to attract customers and employees from an increasingly younger and more diverse populace will understand the significance of Mankato’s past and want to learn about the cultures of Indigenous Peoples and who they are today among us.

You may have noticed that we say “commemorate” instead of “celebrate” Indigenous Peoples Day. According to Dr. Melodie Andrews, professor emeritus at MNSU, in the past the hanging of the 38 Dakota warriors was used to promote and sell merchandise such as beer trays, spoons, postcards, and other items. A special sale or promotion is not an appropriate way to commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day. There are numerous other ways to commemorate the holiday. If your business will be closed on the 2nd Monday of October, please take care to remember to put “closed for Indigenous Peoples Day” on your signs and social media instead of referencing Columbus Day. The Mankato Indigenous Peoples Day Committee is also always grateful for collaborators and supporters! Any business or organization interested in learning more about how you can recognize and commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day can contact Diane Dobitz, a volunteer with the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, to be connected with additional resources.