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Re-Naming Columbus Day ‘Indigenous Peoples Day’ should be Offensive Towards Native Americans

photo by NatashaG (pixabay) [1]
photo by NatashaG (pixabay)

It’s an interesting column [2] on why a one-size-fits-all name should be offensive to Native Americans and indigenous people for putting their entire people in a general category, without giving context on their accomplishments:

The emptiness of the gesture is there right in the name of the day: It’s not Tecumseh Day or Ira Hayes Day or Sacagawea Day or Russell Means Day. Those were actual people with actual legacies. By honoring them or not honoring them you are making a judgment about what their reputations mean. You are, in the jargon of post-colonial theory, granting them agency. That’s why “Martin Luther King Day” has a resonance that “Black People Day” would not…

…The saddest part of the I.P.D. controversy is that it reminds us that this kind of sleepyheaded nod of half-attention has already been enshrined at the federal level. In October 2008, at the height of the financial market crash, President Bush took time out to sign Congressman Joe Baca’s (D., California) “Native American Heritage Day Act of 2008,” which set a holiday for the day after Thanksgiving. It’s not clear what part of the heritage we’re honoring, or even if the holiday continued after 2008, because the act could have been more fairly titled the “We Don’t Really Care Act.”