Twenty-five years after states started adopting Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day, the city of Lansing dedicated the second Monday of October to the native peoples of Michigan. On Oct. 8, Lansing will celebrate its second annual Indigenous People’s Day. Today, the original cultures of Michigan are represented by 12 federally recognized tribes throughout the state.
The importance of changing the name of this holiday falls on the sanitization of the events that happened once Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas. By praising Christopher Columbus, it allowed the presence of a Roman Catholic to dominate history, building on the religious beliefs and ideologies the colonists had and creating the history they wanted to believe (history.com). This just hid the atrocities that occurred towards Native Americans.
When the Europeans first arrived in America, thousands of Native Americans were killed to make room for the new settlers. Rather than attempt to learn from the natives that could grow plenty, the Europeans stole food as well. These settlers didn’t understand how to farm on the new land and either forced natives out or killed them to create space for their settlements. After hundreds of years of experience on multiple terrains, and an advanced understanding of farming, the natives were disregarded and ultimately killed because they were seen as a nuisance (ncpedia.org).
Today, we want to embrace the native culture. There is no way to cover up the atrocities that were committed. We need to stop letting recorded history cover up the events that took place and we need to stop ignoring the truth. It is finally time for the people of Lansing to acknowledge and learn from our past and go forward into a better future.
Jill Ciampa is a professional writing major studying publishing, technical, and public policy writing. She enjoys spending time reading and watercoloring. She can usually be found watching Netflix, traveling, or trying to get someone to understand her French. Follow her @jillcia on Twitter.