CLEVELAND– A Cleveland city councilman is leading the charge to see a change in the celebration of the holiday known as Columbus Day.
Councilman Basheer Jones, and some of his colleagues and supporters rallied on the steps of Cleveland City hall Monday night. They called for the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day.
The hope is to honor Native Americans and their culture and history. The observation would take place on the second Monday in October in place of Columbus Day.
Several states and cities have already made the change.
Councilman Jones said people can support and celebrate whatever and whoever they want, but as a city, he feels it is morally wrong to celebrate a day he said glorifies the violent history of colonization.
“What we are suggesting, what we are hoping for, is that we are able to remove, that indigenous people should have their own day. A day that we highlight, a day that we uplift them, a day that we let them know that what they experienced and went through has not been forgotten. This is what this is all about” Jones said.
“To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers and to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves unwittingly to justify what was done,” said Cynthia Connolly with the Lake Erie Native American Council.
Oberlin and Cincinnati have both adopted the observation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, replacing Columbus Day.