SMC Student React to Indigenous People's Day

LA is heavily populated with diverse communities who, for some, take offense with the celebration of Columbus Day. For others, Christopher Columbus represents a voyager who brought upon decades of colonization, death, and tragedy for Natives. Others take pride in the great expedition he took upon and believe he is the embodiment of courage and exploration.

On Wednesday, August 30th, Italian-American City Council Member Joe Buscaino, voted against replacing Columbus Day in a 14-1 vote. He said, “I support the creation of a holiday celebrating Indigenous Peoples…it is important to teach our young people about the contributions of all our cultures. But not at the expense of another culture or heritage.”

Council Member Mike Bonin who also comes from a family of Italian immigrants disagrees as this new holiday is a “is a very small step in apologizing and in making amends.”

Columbus Day was declared a federal holiday in 1937. Not until 1992 did Berkeley, CA become the first city to recognize Indigenous Day. Since then, several cities have followed Berkeley’s footsteps in celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day including Seattle, WA, Phoenix, AZ, Denver, CO, Grand Rapids, MN, and now Los Angeles.

We spoke with Santa Monica College students who are also fellow Angelinos on the cultural impact and reaction on Indigenous Peoples Day as a city holiday.