MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis City Council voted on Friday, April 25, 2014, unanimously to approve a resolution to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.
Hundreds of American Indians were on hand at Minneapolis City Hall for Friday’s vote.
Many American Indians have long resisted the observance of a day to honor Christopher Columbus, who is credited with “discovering” the Americas in American history.
“It’s been a long time coming,” commented Clyde Bellecourt, American Indian Movement leader after Friday’s vote. “For me, it’s been almost 50 years that we’ve been talking about this pirate.”
The American Indian Movement has long sought to eliminate the observance of Columbus Day. Here is language from a press released distributed by the American Indian Movement in October 2000:
“Columbus was the beginning of the American holocaust, ethnic cleansing characterized by murder, torture, raping, pillaging, robbery, slavery, kidnapping, and forced removals of Indian people from their homelands.”
While the second Tuesday is recognized as Columbus Day as a federal and holiday in the State of Minneapolis, all official City of Minneapolis communications will say “Indigenous People’s Day,” instead of Columbus Day.
The Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis issued the following statement Friday afternoon:
“This act recognizes and celebrates the native people who still live on this land. I am honored to have signed the resolution this morning, as I promised I would during my campaign, recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day and honoring the history, culture, and resiliency of the people who originally inhabited our country and our city. I am grateful to the community for organizing to make this a reality and am looking forward to the even stronger relationships we will build moving forward.”
Some states do not observe Columbus Day, including Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and South Dakota. The day has been a federal holiday since 1937.