The city of Cincinnati is proposing to replace Columbus Day with “Indigenous People’s Day.”
The resolution, which was passed in committee Monday, has to go before the city council before it is approved, WCPO reports.
Cincinnati.com reports that the city council could make a decision on it as early as Wednesday, possibly making Cincinnati the first city in Ohio to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.
Cincinnati’s Human Relations Commission has looked into replacing Columbus Day for about a year now.
Christina Brown, the CHRC’s engagement coordinator, told the committee the “city should begin to be advocates for people who are forebearers of our land,” even though less than one percent of the population is Native American.
“I’m not trying to erase history, but we need to celebrate that indigenous people were here before Columbus,” said Jheri Nehri, an indigenous activist, to Cincinnati.com.
Indigenous People’s Day is not a new idea, however. It was first proposed back in 1977 by a delegation of Native nations to the United Nations’ International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas.
Since then, numerous communities have decided to commemorate the lives of indigenous Americans lost to genocide and colonial oppression instead of Christopher Columbus’s journey across the Atlantic.
In 1992, Berkeley City Council in California symbolically renamed Columbus Day for indigenous people.
The University of North Alabama and Spokane, Washington are the latest adopters of this trend, opting to rename Columbus Day in honor of indigenous people this year.
Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon don’t celebrate Columbus Day and South Dakota celebrates Native American Day instead of Columbus Day.