DCC To Host Indigenous Peoples' Day

GLENDIVE, MONT. – October 7, 2021 – Last year, Dawson Community College held its first Indigenous Peoples’ Day. While taking place in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was deemed a success. The planning committee was thrilled to see many community members and students attend a variety of the events throughout the day, and is excited to continue this tradition. DCC's Indigenous Peoples’ Day will be held on Monday, October 11, 2021.

"Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the beautiful culture, deep history and strong heritage of the Native American people,” said planning committee member Daneen Peterson. While Glendive does not have a large Native American (or Indigenous) population, the community is located in close proximity to a number of reservations in Eastern Montana. There are eight federally recognized tribes and reservations in Montana. The closest to Glendive, just 100 miles north, is Fort Peck Reservation, home to Sioux and Assiniboine Nations.

"When I moved to Montana six years ago, I honestly had very little knowledge of or perception towards Native American people. Sadly, after living here for only six months, I quickly picked up on the harsh judgmental connotations and jarring realities of life on the reservations. Through awareness events like Indigenous Peoples' Day, I hope we can all work together to change the negative narrative [toward Native Americans and their culture],” said Peterson. “We want to create opportunities for community members to not only advance in educational and professional goals, but to also provide events to unite us. We believe that Indigenous Peoples’ Day is one of those opportunities,” continued Peterson.

Monday's event will feature a variety of activities for all ages throughout the day. The public is invited to come stroll through the Main Building hallway to check out the historic Native American artifacts dating back to the late 1800s, watch a PowWow video or learn more about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) issue at a table hosted by Zonta. Children will enjoy story and craft time presented by The Nurturing Tree at 10am in the DCC Library. Justiss Firemoon Tovas, from Wolf Point, will speak at 11 am in the Auditorium. Justiss is a 4-year Miss Montana contestant, a runner-up, and a role model to many. Justiss is passionate about sharing how the Indian residential school system has deteriorated the Native American culture, and how these atrocities have created a strong resilience among the survivors and their families. 

The planning committee is also excited to virtually welcome Dr. Walter Flemming at 2 pm in the Toepke Center Auditorium. Dr. Flemming is a DCC Alumni (1973) and a previous DCC Instructor. Dr. Fleming is now the Head of the Native American Studies department at Montana State University in Bozeman. Dr. Flemming will be sharing about how Christopher Columbus' title of both Explorer to Exploiter still has "impacts on contemporary Federal Indian relations."

DCC's InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group will hold a prayer walk. All are welcome to visit the Toepke Walking Track during the day and pick up a Prayer Card to pray over. At 6 pm, the InterVarsity students will gather on the walking track for a time of group prayer. All students and community members are welcome.

The evening session will begin at 6:30pm with a previous DCC student, Gillian Medicine Cloud. Gillian attended DCC, and played basketball, in 2018. She will cover the nationwide crisis around the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People/Women (MMIP/MMIW). Indigenous people in Montana are four times more likely to go missing than non-Native people, according to a state Department of Justice report. The statistics are staggering, but how it affects families and communities is harrowing. At 7:30pm, there will be a film screening of "Say Her Name". This 29-minute film focuses on the MMIP challenges in Big Horn County, Montana. Come learn about this crisis that is happening all around us and learn about ways you can be an ally and advocate. 

All events and activities related to Indigenous Peoples' Day are free to students and the community.

To learn more about Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Dawson Community College, please call 406-377-9400.



Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October in the United States, in addition to or in lieu of Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day, at its core, aims to celebrate and honor the past, present, and futures of Native peoples throughout the United States and acknowledges the legacy of colonialism, which has devastated Indigenous communities historically and continues to negatively impact them today. More importantly, however, Indigenous Peoples’ Day moves beyond the narrative of oppression and honors the histories, cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples.


9 am - 3 pm - Main Hall - Cultural Fair & Artifacts Display
9 am - 3 pm - Main Hall - Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons Display. Hosted by Zonta
9 am - 6 pm - Toepke Walking Track - Prayer Walk. Self-guided. Organized by InterVarsity
10 am - DCC Library - Children's Story and Craft. Hosted by The Nurturing Tree
11 am - Toepke Auditorium - Justiss Firemoon Toavs (Assiniboine/Sioux)
"Facing History. The Impact of Residential Schools"
2 pm - Toepke Auditorium - Virtual Speaker - Dr. Walter Fleming, PhD (Kickapoo) DCC Alumni 1973 - “Doctrine of Discovery: the Legacy of Columbus”
6:00 pm - Toepke Walking Track - Group Prayer Walk. Hosted by InterVarsity.
6:30 pm - Toepke Auditorium - Gillian Medicine Cloud (Assiniboine/Sioux)
"A Look Into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Crisis"
7:30 pm - Toepke Auditorium - Film Screening "Say Her Name" (29 min)

*Schedule & events subject to change. Please stay tuned for any updates or changes.