Goodbye, Columbus Day. At least if you’re in the city of Detroit.
On Tuesday, October 10 the Detroit City Council unanimously passed a proposal pushed by District 6 councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez that Columbus Day would be replaced by Indigenous Peoples Day.
As we reported yesterday, there’s a Columbus statue that was in question to be removed on Jefferson Avenue across the street from the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. That’s not happening as it’s unclear the council has the authority to order such a removal on their own.
In recent years, awareness of the truth about Christopher Columbus and the colonial mistreatment of native peoples has become more prevalent, giving rise to a movement to change the holiday in cities across the nation.
Columbus Day as a Federal Holiday was created in 1937 by proclamation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after being celebrated in select cities with large numbers of Italian immigrants. It was started by the politically powerful (and heinously corrupt) Tammany Hall in New York City that was also known as the Columbian Order. The first celebration was for the 300th anniversary of the Columbus landing in 1792.
The holiday at one time had parades and was used as a way to demonstrate that new Italian immigrants were patriotic toward their new country, the United States.
But as with many things in America’s history, facts that mentioned the mistreatment or massacre of non-whites was glossed over or not even taught.
The friction between groups around this issue has only increased in recent years.