According to Newsweek Magazine, 79% of college students support replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. The widely controversial holiday is a time for all Native Americans to mourn the loss of their people.
Columbus Day is a national holiday that celebrates Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America. To many Native Americans today, Oct. 9 is instead known as Indigenous People’s Day to remember the lives and culture they lost years ago.
Hannah Tecumseh is a pre-optometry senior, and also a part of both the Navajo and Prairie Band Potawatomi tribes. According to Tecumseh, Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day should be a time for everyone to educate themselves, and learn about the true history of what happened so many years ago.
“I honestly really hate Columbus Day,” Tecumseh said. “So many people are misinformed and uneducated on what really happened. Indigenous People’s Day is a good way to inform yourself on what actually happened and the true history behind the mass genocide.”
Tecumseh also says that Columbus Day is a very difficult time for most Native Americans. Even to this day, they are still grieving from the events that took place so many years ago. She feels that it is very important to recognize how hard of a holiday it truly is for Native Americans.
“A lot of people don’t think about Native Americans and how all of this stuff that happened still runs through our culture,” Tecumseh said. “And most people think that Columbus Day has this great story behind it, which it is not what people talk it up to be.”
Tecumseh has been educating as many people as she can about the true meaning of this holiday, especially to some of her teammates on the Ferris’ volleyball team.
Leah Bylut is an actuarial science junior and teammate to Tecumseh. According to Tecumseh, Bylut’s opinion on Columbus Day has completely changed after learning the true meaning behind the holiday, and has become an advocate for Indigenous People’s day.
“In school, I was taught that this holiday was a celebration of the European people coming to settle in America, but after talking to [Tecumseh], I realized that it isn’t something that should be celebrated in a happy way.” Bylut said. “It should be a day of remembrance for the people who lost their lives and their homes.”
Just like Tecumseh, Bylut feels that it’s very important for everyone to do a better job at educating themselves and others on what really happened to the Native Americans.
“People my age are more educated about the history of this holiday, and it will be good to share this information with the younger generations to come and continue to see this day as a time for remembrance,” Bylut said.
Tecumseh also encourages everyone to take the time this Indigenous People’s Day to learn about the tribes that’ve lived on the land that they’re on today. As well as continue to spread correct information and awareness about Native American history and respecting Native Americans this holiday season.