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Local News: Minneapolis to Celebrate Native Americans with Indigenous People’s Day on Christopher Columbus Day

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First Posted: Apr 26, 2014 11:56 AM EDT
Indigenous People's Day Protest
Protest calling for Indigenous People's Day (Photo : Flickr/Robbt)

Over 500 years ago Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean and landed in what Europeans considered the New World. Many have learned of this story; however, fewer know about neither the darker side of Columbus' discovery nor its ramifications. The decimation and enslavement of the native populations has gone underreported and is scarcely taught, yet activists have been pushing for recognition. In one city they have finally achieved it.

According to Aljazeera, activists have been pushing for an Indigenous People's Day since 1977. That year a delegation of native nations asked the United Nations to recognize such a day. Following in the same spirit, the Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution on Friday to celebrate Indigenous People's Day.

"Therefore, be it resolved by the city council that the city of Minneapolis shall recognize Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October," read the statement.

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To further highlight the relationship between indigenous history and Christopher Columbus, the city opted to celebrate the new holiday on the same day as Columbus Day.

"For me, it's been almost 50 years that we've been talking about this pirate," said Clyde Bellecourt, a civil rights organizer, in reference to Columbus, according to Aljazeera.

Columbus Day is a federal holiday that is observed by many states, except Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and South Dakota, according to the local CBS station. The two holidays will be celebrated jointly by the city beginning this year and will hopefully raise awareness about America's indigenous history.

"This has been a long time coming, and people are going to feel really good about how we're moving forward and advancing a racial equity agenda that really elevates the voice and contributions of American Indian people," said council member Alondra Cano, the author of the resolution.

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