Should Indigenous People's Day replace Columbus Day as a federal holiday? | The Tylt
Should Indigenous People's Day replace Columbus Day as a federal holiday?
The Washington D.C. council recently fast-tracked a bill to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day in an effort to recognize Native Americans and their contributions. Councilmember David Gross, who authored the legislation, argues decades of Columbus Day celebrations have ignored history. The commemoration never should have existed in the first place. Per Curbed D.C.:
“Columbus enslaved, colonized, mutilated, and massacred thousands of Indigenous People in the Americas. We cannot continue to allow this history to be celebrated as a holiday in the District.”
Others decry Indigenous Peoples' Day as "political correctness."
Meanwhile, Wisconsin became the sixth state to declare the second Monday of October Indigenous People's Day. According to ABC 12 Wisconsin, local students sparked the change:
Students at the Indian Community School in Franklin have fought for three years to have Wisconsin recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order as a result, per the Hill's Aris Folley:
“Through this executive order, we recognize and appreciate our tribal nations and Indigenous people and their resilience, wisdom, and the contributions they make to our state,” Evers said of the signing, according to the station.
“Native Americans in Wisconsin and throughout our country have suffered unjust treatment—often at the hands of our government—and today is about recognizing that Wisconsin would not be all that it is without Indigenous people,” he continued.
Wisconsin is home to 11 federally-recognized Native nations, and the executive order specifically notes the “building of the state and its cities would not have been possible” without their contributions.
Nevertheless, not everyone is excited for the change. Per ABC 12 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan commented:
"I am not at all opposed to recognizing Native Americans, indigenous peoples to the Americas. No problem whatsoever. But I do have a problem when it's done at the expense of Christopher Columbus and Italians," Donovan said.
According to the Associated Press, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has gone on record echoing this sentiment:
'You can debate the historical figure of Christopher Columbus, but you can’t debate the contribution of Italian-Americans to this country.'
For some Italian-Americans, Columbus Day is a celebration of their heritage.