Indigenous people embrace their culture by denouncing Columbus Day

Aloe Suarez, Reporter

Indigenous people across the nation are geared up in festive attire to celebrate their Native American and other ethnic heritage in continual protest of Columbus Day.

More states are dubbing the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day since South Dakota’s decision to acknowledge this holiday in 1989. 

Activist groups and certain individuals believe Columbus Day promotes discrimination, the genocide of native groups, and slavery. Those thoughts stem from historical evidence of Columbus leading European explorations that lead to the captivity of the people indigenous to the Americas and the Caribbean. 

School curriculums have received criticism for not teaching historically accurate information about Columbus and the horrific consequences. 

As of now, 14 states and the District of Columbia have formally announced their part in celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day. Two states, Alabama and Oklahoma, celebrate both the federal holiday and Native American Heritage Day on a separate day.

Though Florida is not a part of the list, Native Americans and historians are doing their part to keep the traditions alive and educate locals of their state’s rich past.

Oskwanontona Pia Roya, better known as Little Big Mountain, is of the Comanche Nation and is a fourth-generation “edutainer,” that performs and teaches audiences about his sacred culture.

“It’s a way of preservation of our culture and our own history. Among Native [American] people, we have two types of history — one is what we call American history. What that means is it’s ‘his story,’ ” Little Big Mountain said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s not our story. If you listen to a Native [American] person, you’re going to get a different story.”

In addition to those fourteen states, over 130 cities participate in such festivities. 

Featured image courtesy of Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation.


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