Columbus Day Could Soon Become Indigenous Peoples Day in Oberlin

click to enlarge Columbus Day Could Soon Become Indigenous Peoples Day in Oberlin
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Many in Oberlin are calling for Indigenous Peoples Day to replace the annual celebration of Columbus Day, making the city the first to do so in Ohio. And last night's city council meeting brought out dozens of supporters of the proposed resolution.

Jeff Pierce, spokesman for the Ohio American Indian Movement, made an impassioned plea for the removal of the federal holiday.

“(Columbus) is single handedly responsible … for decimating cultures, for rape, murder, a complete genocide, and when you pay tribute to Christopher Columbus by calling it Columbus Day, it endorses that behavior,” said Pierce at last night's meeting, The Chronicle reported.

But some Christopher Columbus supporters also spoke. Jonathan Petrea, a representative of the Knights of Columbus, said he believes that Columbus was falsely blamed for the actions of others and that Indigenous Peoples Day should be recognized on another day.

“We strongly object and oppose any efforts to abolish or diminish Columbus,” Petrea said, The Chronicle reported. “He has been the victim of horrific slander concerning his conduct.”

After hearing from folks on both sides of the issue, all council members accepted the first reading of the resolution, which would make the second Monday of October Indigenous Peoples Day in Oberlin.

The resolution is set to be further discussed June 19.
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