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Published: Tue, October 11, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Quest to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day sails ahead

Quest to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day sails ahead

"You don't see a Happy Hitler Day in Germany so I don't think that the US should be celebrating hundreds of years of genocide and rape against the indigenous people and the original people of this land", says Sarah Zavala, Columbus Day protestor. For instance, in Philadelphia, Columbus Day is no longer a holiday for public schools there, CBS Philadelphia reported.

Christopher Columbus is an historical figure who has received mixed reviews. Many states have already been ahead of the curve on this, and have refused to recognize Columbus Day as they have a larger population of natives. It's understandable why the indigenous people and other activists are against naming a federal holiday after Columbus.

Columbus Day celebrates mass-slaughter and forced indoctrination. Meanwhile, South Dakota and Alaska are the only states that officially acknowledge it, although Hawaii and OR have opted out of observing Columbus Day.

Even those who do not agree that Columbus was as bad as many historians claim have to admit that numerous discoveries traditionally attributed to Columbus are factually inaccurate.

Although Native American groups consider Columbus a European colonizer responsible for the genocide of millions of indigenous people, supporters of the holiday have argued that he was an important figure in Italian American heritage.

Other states and cities have "caved-in" on the proposals and petitions made from activists and renamed the holiday, after years of pressure.

Oct. 10 was the second Monday in October and, thus, was the day that the United States this year observed Columbus Day, which celebrates the anniversary of Columbus arriving in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492.

"Indigenous Peoples Day represents a shift in consciousness", said Dr. Leo Killsback, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation and assistant professor of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University.

Columbus is usually portrayed as the first European to sail to the Americas, thereby discovering the New World.

The powwow theme this year was "Standing with Standing Rock", in solidarity with the recent protests to protect water and land rights for indigenous people in North and South Dakota. Columbus deserves little credit (Leif Erikson had "discovered" the "new" continent 500 years earlier) and much blame for the horrors of the Columbian Exchange - the vast transfer of people, animals, and plants between the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. The abstentions would seem to reflect ambivalence about changing a traditional American holiday in the face of a reevaluation of American history. "It's disappointing that a majority of City Council has no interest in recognizing and honoring their history".

"It's a recognition that we're still here".

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