In what seems destined to become a new front in some culture war, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution recognizing 'Indigenous Peoples Day' on what's known nationally as Columbus Day. The vote took place late yesterday.
Here's a little sliver of the language from the city council resolution:
The City of Minneapolis recognizes the annexation of Dakota homelands for the building of our city, and knows Indigenous nations have lived upon this land since time immemorial and values the progress our society has accomplished through American Indian technology, thought, and culture...
Therefore, be it resolved by the city council that the city of Minneapolis shall recognize Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October.”
Columbus, for whom countless cities, high schools, one pretty important district, and a federal holiday observed in 46 states are named, apparently wasn't the enemy here. City Council Member Alondra Cano, which helped lead the charge on the resolution offered this sugary soundbite to help the medicine go down.
This is not necessarily about Columbus. He is not the center of our existence. This is about the power of the American Indian people and indigenous communities all over the world. We are setting the record straight.”
An earlier version of the resolution sought to rename the holiday entirely, but that was scrapped. Instead, Columbus Day will technically live on in Minneapolis, but all city communications will simply use the new name instead.
It seems safe to say that this will ultimately be seen as an indictment of Columbus' historical record in quarters both left and right.
Will this movement spread beyond Minneapolis to its twin city of St. Paul and beyond? Politicians offered a very firm maybe.
Both state Rep. Susan Allen and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said before the vote that they were interested in making similar efforts at the state and federal level.
"I hadn't thought of it until a young man just said 'What about doing [this] on the federal level?" Ellison said in an interview Friday. "I said that's an idea. So we're going to be thinking about it now.
With no shortage of casual profanity, the Sopranos crew debated Columbus Day controversies from the "Columbus-as-hero" angle in the show's fourth season: