City relabels controversial holiday


Photo courtesy of David Berkowitz (Creative Commons)

GAINING PERSPECTIVE. Christopher Columbus Day is celebrated as an official holiday in the U.S. on Oct. 8 of every year. Many states and cities have chosen not to celebrate the day or chose a proactive step instead of honoring the figure that enslaved countless members of the indigenous population. “I’m proud to be an Italian-American, but there are better ways to be proud of our heritage without excusing the monstrous behavior of a historic figure just because we’re from the same country of origin,” said BJ Colangelo, according to Scene.

On Oct. 3, City Council officials reframed history. Well, at least on the city level they did. In a 6-0 vote (two members abstained and the vice mayor was excused from voting), Cincinnati City Council voted to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

“I think history tells us that Christopher Columbus was not a good representation of the kind of people we’d want to value and appreciate,” said Councilman Chris Seelbach, according to WCPO.

Cincinnati is not the first to make this move, as Berkeley, California was the landmark first to celebrate this holiday in 1992. Four states do not recognize Columbus Day, and two do not do so officially.

Oberlin was the first city in Cincinnati to change to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Cleveland will still be holding their Columbus Day parade, which recognizes the Italian-American communities within the city as well.

The vote has been before Cincinnati’s City Council before, in 2016, and once more the year before that. Since then, Anderson High School’s mascot has remained the “Redskins” despite Native American protests.

“We may not change Anderson Township this year. We may not change it next year. A lot of that comes with education, and a lot of that education starts right here with Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” said Jheri Neri, a member of the Mescolare tribe and spokesman for the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition, according to WCPO.