Salt Lake Marks Columbus Day As Indigenous Peoples' Day Too

Cheryl Sanders
October 5, 2017

The Quad-Cities Native American Coalition had approached the city through the Civil Rights Commission in July about petitioning to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day in lieu of Columbus Day.

Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, who introduced the item with council members Suzie Price and Daryl Supernaw, called it a "long-coming" decision.

Los Angeles County will replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day as an official holiday. The declaration of Indigenous Peoples' Day would make Notre Dame the fifth major academic institution to do so and denote a commitment to continuing the conversation.

The council voted unanimously to direct the city attorney to draft a resolution the council may adopt next Tuesday.

"There are a lot of generations of hurt", Supervisor Janice Hahn said.

"I'm now taking a Native American literature class and after learning about Columbus and how he was a rapist and how he abused the Native Americans, I'd have to say I would rather support Native Americans than Christopher Columbus", health care systems administration sophomore Emily Laforce said.

A handful of speakers in favor of the motion openly discussed what the new holiday would mean to them and their families.

"We in no way had any intent of eliminating or changing any Columbus Day remembrances, since it is a national holiday", Klipsch said. "Not only for adults but our young people", he said.

"By observing Indigenous People's Day, an appropriate focus is placed on the current and historical events related to the genocide, struggles and contributions of Native Americans", Eriksen said. "While we cannot change the past, we can realize the pain that millions suffered throughout our nation's history, as well as the tremendous achievements of the original inhabitants of our continent".

The Los Angeles Times says the motion also designates October 12 as Italian American Heritage Day. The states of Alaska, Oregon, South Dakota and Vermont don't recognize Columbus Day.

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