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The Christopher Columbus bust in downtown Detroit.

Today is Columbus Day in the United States, but not everyone is on board with honoring Christopher Columbus.

District 6 Detroit City Councilmember Raquel Castañeda-López will be introducing a resolution on Tuesday, October 10 to establish the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, instead of Columbus Day, in the city of Detroit.

According to a press release, the resolution urges Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to:

  • Ensure all public offices shall refer to the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day.
  • Strongly encourages all Detroit Public Schools, charter schools and other child care/educational facilities operating within the city to join in the celebration.
  • Supports the removal of the Christopher Columbus bust in downtown Detroit and the installation of a tribute to an Indigenous figure in its place.
  • The idea behind the resolution is to recognize Detroit’s Native American community, Michigan’s twelve federally recognized tribes, the historic tribes and the Indigenous people who have traveled from across the Americas to live and work in the city.

“I am excited for the opportunity to honor and recognize my indigenous ancestors and to shed light on the history of our city and country that is often forgotten,” said Castañeda-López. “This resolution reflects our commitment to being a welcoming city to all.”

A number of cities have already passed similar resolutions including Asheville, North Carolina; Boulder, Colorado; Spokane, Washington; St. Paul, Minnesota and Seattle, Washington, among others.

The anti-Columbus argument is most succinctly and clearly explained by this comic from The Oatmeal.

The release by the council member says that the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day will “help highlight the many contributions of Indigenous communities, recognizing Detroit is home to the highest concentration of Natives and Latinx people.”

“Recognizing the massacres Columbus unleashed on Indigenous people throughout the Americas and shifting from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a way to not only honor the survival and resilience of Detroit’s diverse Indigenous communities today, but to also bring healing,” said Dr. Sandra Gonzales, Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education, Wayne State University.