Baley Champagne, United Houma Nation tribal citizen, recently contacted Governor John Bel Edwards to request a proclamation to change October 14th in Louisiana to Indigenous Peoples’ Day as opposed to what is commonly referred to as Columbus Day. The National Columbus Day celebration efforts have received increasing scrutiny as Native people throughout the country are given the platform to express how offensive it is for the nation to celebrate an individual who served as the spark for the explosion of genocide committed against the indigenous people of the Americas in the hundreds of years to follow.
On September 11, 2019, the Governor honored Baley’s request to make that change in Louisiana. In talking with Mrs. Champagne she acknowledged that because of how easy technology has made the process to make such a request, she felt compelled to take advantage of the opportunity to give a voice for indigenous people when many of our ancestors were forced to be voiceless before. As a young mother of two daughters, Baley stressed that it was important for all tribal citizens to take action to make our issues more visible both at the local and national levels. She stated, “It’s about taking the necessary steps to be visible and speak for ourselves.”
Baley is the daughter of Sandra Martinez Villa and the wife of Mathew Champagne of Houma. Congratulations to Baley on taking action to raise awareness for indigenous people throughout the state of Louisiana. She has recently been accepted to Loyola University to study for a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications where she intends to focus on journalism. She will be organizing an event in Houma to celebrate this change on October 14 so please check back for updates on how you can become involved and support this effort.
To read more, see the article below posted on WAFB.