Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day? LIers weigh in

Biographical depictions of the explorer tend to be subjective and came long after his death.

The notion of kicking Columbus out of his own holiday started back in 1977, at the United Nations' International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas.

"(Columbus) would stick swords in (natives) just to see (if) a sword will go through them just like it goes through white people", she said. Columbus was eventually arrested by the Spanish Crown and stripped of his governorship for executing Spanish citizens without a trial.

The University of New Mexico will officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day for the first time in school history on Monday, Oct. 8 in an effort to recognize the resilience of Native Americans.

It's still a federal holiday.

At times throughout the celebration, it was hard to hear over the chants by the protestors holding up signs saying to abolish the day. The traditional Columbus Day is Friday, Oct. 12.

"I was thinking, 'They just don't know, I'll just tell them and they'll stop doing it.' And here we are 30 years later", she said.

Critics of Columbus Day, proclaimed a national holiday in the 1930s, say it has perpetuated a false historical narrative surrounding Christopher Columbus, the Italian-born explorer credited with "discovering America" when the first of his four trans-Atlantic voyages for the Spanish crown landed on an inhabited island of the Bahamas in 1492.

Growing up in Milan, my husband's teachers spoke openly about Columbus' brutal past. Amid the debate, many also note that on October 12, 1492, the explorer made landfall in the Bahamas, not in what later became the United States.

"This is Muwekma-Ohlone land we're standing on right now", said Aja Two Crows '21, co-chair of SAIO, in reference to the Native American group that lived in the Bay Area prior to colonization.

Alaska just made the switch to Indigenous Peoples' Day a year ago, and cities like Los Angeles, Seattle and Ithaca, New York, have done the same. That includes a peaceful protest of prayers, speeches and traditional singing in 2016 at Columbus City Hall - underneath the statue of the explorer that sits out front - to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline and to urge OH to support more renewable energy.

Students, faculty and community members gathered outside Stevenson Union to share in a salmon bake and talk about equity and inclusion.

These talks represent progress, though they promise to be heated and there's no assurance that any proposed changes will actually be implemented.

It was the most popular tour bus destination in the country that year.

Jones said the tree will be a living reminder of the UI's support for native students and faculty and a "symbol of our promise to be a vibrant community, inclusive to all".

  • Leroy Wright