U.S. Cities Change ‘Columbus Day’ to ‘Indigenous People’s Day’*
More and more citizens push to acknowledge the fact that America was inhabited before Columbus “discovered” it in the 15th century.
For years, U.S. citizens have been honouring Christopher Columbus on the second Monday of October, but more and more cities across the country are now changing the day from “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous People’s Day.”
The move comes as citizens attempt to quash the glorification of colonization and recognize that America existed and was inhabited by indigenous people before Columbus “discovered it” in the 15th century.
At least 12 cities across the U.S. have changed the holiday’s name and will honour the territory’s indigenous past. Berkeley, California has been observing Indigenous People’s Day since 1992, making it the first city to do so.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Seattle, Washington, were the first two major cities to officially change the name. Others include Albuquerque, New Mexico; Anadarko, Oklahoma; Portland, Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Olympia, Washington; Lewiston, New York; Carrboro, North Carolina; Grand Rapids, Minnesota; Traverse City, Michigan.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Fargo, North Dakota, are among other cities considering an official name change to the federal holiday.
The state of South Dakota officially changed Columbus Day to Native American Day in 1990, making the day an official state holiday.
“This is something that I’ve struggled with for a long time,” Sarah Adams-Cornell, an Indigenous activist and member of the Choctaw Nation told local media last month.
“The fact that our country, our state and our city celebrate this holiday around this man who murdered and enslaved and raped indigenous people and decimated an entire population.”
Indigenous groups and supporters have for years been pushing to change the name of the holiday as they have pointed out that it marks the beginning of the violence and genocide that Indigenous people suffered at the hands of the first Europeans. This has included mass slaughters, forced sterilization, enslavement, and forced displacement.