Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day? LIers weigh in

Cheryl Sanders
October 9, 2018

Franklin Park off East Broad Street was transformed into a horticultural exposition that rivaled both Disney's EPCOT and World's Fair.

Columbus Day, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus, falls on the second Monday of October-in 2018, that's October 8.

This year, adding to the growing list of cities reluctant to celebrate that sort of history and choosing to instead observe Indigenous Peoples' Day are such geographically and ideologically diverse areas as San Francisco, Cincinnati, Boise, South Fulton in Georgia and Mankato, Minnesota.

While post offices are closed, UPS does not observe the holiday. But this year, the capital city's offices will remain open, and instead close on Veterans Day, which falls on November 12. So, the city chose Veterans Day. We honored the Italian explorer, coloring pictures of the ships Columbus captained to "discover" our homeland. "We thought that was something that was important".

"Columbus Day is a relic of an outdated and oversimplified version of history", the mayor wrote when announcing the decision last month. The city only had a big enough budget to celebrate Columbus Day or Veterans Day this year, and since most of the workers are vets, officials said they chose to give them the day off in November.

"There should never have been a Columbus Day because just like Hitler he tried to commit near genocide for the Indians", said Rita J Martinez, one of the organizers for the abolish Columbus Day group.

An attempt in Akron to rename the holiday grew ugly a year ago, dividing the all-Democratic city council along racial lines.

President Donald Trump, had not mentioned Indigenous Peoples Day by late Monday afternoon, but did tweet about "Columbus's spirit of determination and adventure".

In fact, Columbus, Ohio, has no real connection to the man himself.

In addition, Columbus Metropolitan Library branches will be open Monday and Central Ohio Transit Authority offices will be open and buses will run on a regular schedule. According to the book "Columbus: The Story of a City" by historian Ed Lentz, the state lawmaker who lived in that area simply admired Columbus and persuaded fellow lawmakers that his name would make a good name for the capital.

"It's very in vogue politically right now to do that", said festival board member Joseph Contino, noting how cities across the country have started celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day in recent years. Tom Suozzi is one lawmaker who hopes Columbus Day remains alive and well. In blue states especially, communities now recognize Columbus as a slaveholder, rapist and plunderer of gold; a total of 56 cities and four states have followed Berkeley's example.

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