Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

Group to gather at Columbus statue downtown for 'Indigenous Peoples Day'

Editorial: Statues Of Limitations Letter: Columbus Day should be a national holiday
Christy Curtis | 10 October, 2017, 01:27

In last year's executive proclamation marking Indigenous People's Day, Vermont Gov. Peter Schumlin wrote the goal of the day is to recognize that the state "was founded and is built upon lands first inhabited by the Indigenous Peoples of this region". "It acknowledges that indigenous peoples and their voices are important in today's conversations".

Christopher Columbus may not be as popular now as he was when the US capital and a national holiday were named in his honor, but a majority of Americans still hold him in high regard.

Columbus Day, the second Monday in October, is a nationally recognized holiday.

As the debate continues nationally about what should be done with historical statues, Southington on Monday, dedicated a new monument to Christopher Columbus at the town's Municipal Center. That was hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

The second Monday of October is recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day in Mount Pleasant, however, in other cities throughout the USA, it is still celebrated as Columbus Day.

The movement can generally be traced back to 1991, when Indigenous Peoples Day was first codified into law in Berkeley, Calif., as a counterpoint to the 500th anniversary of Columbus' landing.

"Our city owes our very founding to the indigenous peoples in Denver", Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez told the Denver Post, shortly after the city adopted the new holiday in 2016. We should be talking about what our history books are missing.

Their stories didn't make the history that the winners wrote, but they too should be honored and appreciated.

The event is sponsored by the Office of Native American Programs and North American Indigenous Student Organization.

25 years later, several other cities have followed suit, including Seattle, Austin and Los Angeles. Two of the three protesters were dressed in fake chains. The states of Minnesota, Vermont and Alaska also have made it a statewide celebration.

And the world's greatest city, New York, is now reviewing what it calls "symbols of hate" on city property - including, unfortunately, statues of Columbus. "What we're trying to say is that we were here all this time", she said.

Jim Boland was correct in voting against this holiday change whereas Walter Steed, Art Bettge, John Weber, Kathryn Bonzo and Gina Taruscio were wrong. But many Italian-Americans argue that Columbus is a symbol of their ethnic pride. Growing up, Columbus Day always meant dinner with my grandparents-one of whom was of Sicilian descent and the other with lineage from Naples.

"If you're not supporting our community, we're not going to stand behind you and support yours", one man said.

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