Akron School Recognizes the Region's Indigenous History on Columbus Day

Oct 8, 2017

Northern Cheyenne language professor Burt Medicine Bull, left, and Lippman School teacher Matthew Russ are leading a walk along Akron's Portage Path to honor the region's Native American history.
Credit JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

A group of students in Akron will be marking Columbus Day by joining a group of Native Americans in a walk along the city’s historic Portage Path.

The event acknowledges the people who lived here before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

The walk is organized by the Lippman School as part of its ongoing cultural exchange program with the Northern Cheyenne Nation in Montana.

Burt Medicine Bull is a Cheyenne language teacher and tribal elder.

He says walking the ancient trail that linked the Cuyahoga and the Tuscarawas rivers puts him in touch with the Native people who once lived here, even if they’re long gone.

“The spirits of those Nations, they’re still around, that’s what we think,” says Medicine Bull.

Around 200 students from at least four Akron schools are taking part in the walk, which is co-sponsored by the Summit County Historical Society.

The Lippman School says the walk is not anti-Columbus Day, but rather embraces the region’s entire history.

Last month Akron City Council voted down a resolution to rename the holiday Indigenous Peoples Day.