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DELGADO | Out With Columbus Day and in With Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Columbus Day is observed on the second Monday of October in the United States in order to recognize the contributions of Italian Americans and to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the “New World” in 1492. The United States has arguably played the largest role in celebrating Columbus while ignoring the consequences of his actions. For this reason, over eight states, 130 cities and 10 universities are recognizing a more deserving alternative — Indigenous Peoples’ Day. I believe that building awareness of the history of Christopher Columbus’s behavior would lead anyone to the conclusion that Indigenous Peoples’ Day should replace Columbus Day — and that Cornell, Tompkins County and America at large aren’t doing enough to make up for Columbus’s actions and the patterns of behavior that he started. In 1492, Columbus began a series of four voyages to the Carribean.

Students speak in support of a resolution for Indigenous Peoples' Day in March 2016. Over a year later, the University formally observed the day for the first time.

Cornell Officially Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day

“The significance of recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day is not only making an important sociocultural statement for native peoples, but it is also pulling individuals out of ignorance and making them think about the why they are celebrating what they’re celebrating, and whether or not it is culturally appropriate or even historically accurate,” said Laura Lagunez ’16

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Students Plan Week To Commemorate Indigenous Peoples

The celebrations, called Indigenous Peoples’ Day: A Week of Celebration, come about six months after the Student Assembly passed a resolution deciding to recognize Indigenous People’s Day in lieu of Columbus Day.