Pipestone County commissioners voted unanimously last week to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day.

Eugene Strong, an American Indian, suggested the county adopt the resolution, which was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas.

“We were very pleased to work with him on that and accommodate and do the resolution,” said Steve Ewing, county administrator. “We’re not doing away with Columbus Day. ... It’s a federal holiday. All we’re doing is recognizing indigenous peoples, and we think it was a good move.”

Ewing said that Strong also got a good reaction from the city of Pipestone and Mayor Myron Koets.

“The city and the mayor were very responsive to his information,” Ewing said.

No one spoke against the resolution, led by Commissioner Luke Johnson.

“Pipestone County shall continue its efforts to promote the well-being and growth of the local American Indian Community and Indigenous Community,” the resolution says. “Indigenous Peoples Day shall be used to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous People on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value Indigenous Nations add to our county.”

The resolution also encourages businesses, organizations and public entities to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.


St. Peter

City moves to ban sales of tobacco for under 21

The St. Peter City Council voted unanimously last week to begin the process of changing its ordinance to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21.

The council directed staff to notify businesses of the pending change and return with a modified ordinance for a final vote after 30 days.



Community marks 20th anniversary of tornado

The devastating tornado that hit St. Peter and several other southern Minnesota cities in 1998 will be commemorated on March 29, its 20th anniversary.

A community program, “Twist of Fate,” will be held at the St. Peter High School auditorium at 5:15 p.m. Hosted by former WCCO-TV news anchor Don Shelby, it will honor the community’s losses while celebrating its resilience.

On March 29, 1998, a monster supercell thunderstorm spawned some of the earliest-season tornadoes in state history. At least 13 were formed by that cell, which stretched for 150 miles. St. Peter was especially hard-hit; officials estimated that 200 homes were destroyed, 400 others sustained structural damage and 1,200 more received some damage. More than 17,000 trees were lost, and Gustavus Adolphus College lost 80 percent of the glass in its buildings. Two people were killed.

The St. Peter tornado was on the ground for 18 miles and inflicted $120 million in damage.