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Council votes to recognize Native American Heritage during the month of November

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21)- In response to backlash to a previous resolution, city council approved a resolution to recognize Native American heritage.

In February, city council approved a resolution to make July 16th ‘General Mad Anthony Wayne Day’ in the city. This received backlash from members of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

The members said the resolution failed to recognize “that tribal nations were negatively impacted by the actions of the United States Army under Wayne’s leadership.

Cultural Anthropologist, Melissa Rinehart said celebrating Anthony Wayne was not the whole problem.

“I have no problem with celebrating the founding of this community, however some of the assertions to support his resolution just were not factual,”  Rinehart said.

Rinehart said it was important to have all the facts, in order to mark this time in history.

“Our early interactions with native people very much dictated the course of the founding of our country and continued colonization,” Rinehart.

Councilman Geoff Paddock says he supported the Anthony Wayne Day resolution back in February, but he says he wanted to take it a step further.

“I think it was important to recognize that Anthony Wayne is part of our history, but we also want to recognize the importance of our history that our Native American ancestors that they be recognized for their contribution that’s helped make Fort Wayne a great city,” Paddock said.

Paddock said he wanted to be sensitive to the Miami Tribe’s objections to how things played out with the original resolution.

“We should’ve had a resolution that was more comprehensive when the Anthony Wayne Resolution came out, we didn’t do that, I take responsibility for that, and I’ve tried to fix it over the last few months,” Paddock said.

Rinehart spoke at Tuesday night’s council meeting about why it was important to recognize Native Americans in our community. She says she is happy with this tribute to the Native People.

“I’m excited to see a year from now, what types of events unfold for the month of November,” Rinehart said.



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Arielle Cadet

Arielle Cadet joined WPTA in August 2019. The Atlanta, Georgia native graduated from the University of Missouri and serves as Weekend Anchor/MMJ for ABC21. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or shoot her an email at

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