Mpls City Council to vote on renaming Christopher Columbus Day

  • Article by: ERIC ROPER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 21, 2014 - 11:11 PM

Council will vote to rename the holiday “Indigenous People’s Day” on all city communications.

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Dec. 18, 2013: Alondra Cano is one of the seven new Minneapolis council members.

Photo: ELIZABETH FLORES, Star Tribune

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Minneapolis is preparing to strike Columbus Day from its calendar.

The City Council is expected to vote Friday on a resolution that would rename the federal holiday “Indigenous People’s Day” on all city communications. The vote follows a similar effort in Red Wing, where the city mulled changing Columbus Day to “First People’s Day” earlier this year.

The Red Wing City Council has yet to act on the resolution, though the chair of the human rights commission, Barbara von Haaren, said Monday that the council plans to vote on April 28.

The effort in Minneapolis is being led by new City Council Member Alondra Cano. She said her office has been working with the Native American Community Development Institute and a handful of other American Indian leaders.

“This is more about elevating the American Indian perspective than it is about being anti-Columbus,” Cano said. “Although there are plenty of people that will talk about the deep violence that Christopher Columbus used and enacted when he first came to this part of the world.”

The Red Wing resolution noted that Columbus never set foot in North America and practiced “extreme cruelty” in the New World.

“From a basic historical perspective there’s a lack of understanding about what Christopher Columbus did or didn’t do,” Cano said. “So we’re just trying to make sure that people are aware of a more clear and accurate history in terms of what is that folks are celebrating on Christopher Columbus Day, what does that mean for them.”

The practical effect in Minneapolis will be largely limited to changing the name of the holiday on official communications from the city, including the calendar and news releases. If the resolution passes Friday, those documents will now refer to the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day.

Though several states do not recognize Columbus Day, it is defined as a holiday in Minnesota statutes. The city of Berkeley, Calif., has celebrated Indigenous People’s Day since 1992.

 

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732

Twitter: @StribRoper

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