Traverse City group says Columbus Day celebrates genocide

By: NewsCenter 16 Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Email

TRAVERSE CITY Columbus Day is a federal holiday, but a group in Traverse City is asking the commission to make a change by renaming it Indigenous Peoples Day.

The group "Idle No More" says it is insulting to celebrate a man who is known for violence.

About a dozen people came to Monday night's Traverse City Commission meeting to request the name change. The group recognizes that the city can't overturn a federal holiday, but they can adopt a resolution to rename the day, and cities around the country have done just that.

Northern Michigan has a large Native American community. Many of them say it's painful to be forced to recognize Christopher Columbus, the man they say is responsible for Native American genocide.

One man says his Cherokee roots are important to pass on the truth to his daughter.

"I teach her about her heritage, and I think it's something she should be proud of, and to not have to endure a celebration of someone that systematically tried to wipe out an entire continent," Timothy Grey explained.

The group plans to partner with local businesses for the upcoming holiday. They'll be giving out Indigenous Peoples Day grocery bags.

Columbus Day became an official federal holiday in 1937. It takes place on the second Monday of October.

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