Tuesday, September 29, 2015

UIS student group pushing for 'Indigenous People's Day' to replace Columbus Day

Student government members at the University of Illinois Springfield hope a resolution passed Sunday in support of changing the second Monday in October to Indigenous People's Day will catch on.

That's the day that most of the country celebrates Columbus Day.

Duane Malany, external vice president of the Student Government Association at UIS, said the vote Sunday was largely symbolic and designed to bring awareness to what he described as an inaccurate portrayal of Christopher Columbus as an American hero.

Columbus Day commemorates the Italian explorer whose expeditions marked the beginning of Spanish colonization in the Americas. However, it also is viewed by some as the beginning of the demise of American Indian people and culture through disease, warfare, massacre and forced assimilation brought on by Europeans.

Columbus Day is recognized as a federal holiday and observed as a state holiday in Illinois. Students at UIS do not get Columbus Day off.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on September 28, 2015.

Read the entire article here.