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Minneapolis changes Columbus Day to 'Indigenous Peoples Day'

Native Americans say celebrating Columbus Day perpetuates a false narrative surrounding the explorer who landed in the New World more than five centuries ago.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   April 25, 2014 at 5:20 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to join several other municipalities and states in protesting the celebration of Columbus Day.

Instead, the Minnesota city will celebrate Indigenous People's Day to "reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that Dakota, Ojibwa and other indigenous nations add to our city."

Opposition to celebrating Columbus Day, which falls officially on October 12 (but is celebrated in the U.S. on the second Monday of the month), comes from the cruel treatment of Native Americans at the hand of Christopher Columbus and the Europeans that followed him to the New World.

“We are sending a signal across the nation and to the global community that we make these changes in the spirit of truth-telling,” Council Member Alondra Cano said ahead of the Council meeting.

“Now that we have established Indigenous People's Day, every child -- whether that child is native or whether that child is not -- will learn the truth about where America really comes from," added U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.

A coalition of native nations proposed the idea of Indigenous People's Day to the United Nations nearly 40 years ago, and variations of it have been picked up by South Dakota, Hawaii, and a number of cities, including San Francisco.

Minneapolis's decision won't completely eliminate Columbus Day in the city, as it remains on parking meters and in city ordinances and contracts.

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