Indigenous People's Day celebrated in place of Columbus Day - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Indigenous People's Day celebrated in place of Columbus Day

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The Iowa City City Council proclaimed October 9 as Indigenous People's Day. 

The idea for Indigenous People's Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native Nations to the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas. 

Community members and students, including members of the Native American Student Association (NASA) held a rally Monday morning on the University of Iowa's Pentacrest to celebrate it. 

"It's just really amazing to me that people are caring about indigenous struggles and what goes on in our communities," Cheyenne Binder, a NASA member, said. 

According to Adriana Peterson, NASA has been working for years to establish the day in Iowa City.

"It stands for that we are acknowledging the native and indigenous people of this land are the first inhabitants," Peterson said. "Christopher Columbus is always said to discover America but how do you discover a country that has already had people living on it for thousands of years?"

Peterson, along with other NASA members such as Xiomara Santana believe that Columbus Day isn't a day worth celebrating because it celebrates a falsified history, such as the 

"I think a lot of people of color know that Columbus was not a good man and he has not left a good legacy," Santana said.  "He never stepped foot on what we would now call the United States. He actually stepped foot onto islands. It's like a lack of history that has been misrepresented and also a genocide, sadness, a community that gets excluded. I think that's what Christopher Columbus means to me."

Iowa City is the second city in the state to proclaim the day, behind the city of Davenport. University of Iowa Student Government has also voted to acknowledge the day and NASA hopes to take that university wide and then to the state level.

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