Here in New York, Brooklyn Assemblyman Charles Barron has introduced a bill (A8676) in the state Legislature to rename the holiday "Indigenous People's Day" in New York. A spokesperson said the city does not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday anyway. "We're not saying people shouldn't celebrate Columbus Day, we just want to celebrate the indigenous culture of many indigenous people who have survived colonization and who still continue to practice their culture today".
The University of Alaska Southeast held academic and cultural events throughout the day at its three campuses. "Now that it's a positive thing, I'm out there, I'm helping out, and I'm very glad that it was changed and now it's something that I can put more effort into celebrating and supporting as opposed to a year ago when I just sort of shoved it off". "Remember that our peoples have walked, lived, prayed, warred, died, worked and made love for thousands of years", he said.
In the back of the room, Samantha Falkner shared Peterson's views.
The act of celebrating October 12 as Indigenous Peoples' Day means transforming humanity's way forward, away from the dark road of conquest, colonization, exploitation and oppression and back onto "the good red road" of peace, friendship, respect, sustainability, a love for one another and our Earth mother, who sustains all life.
The president said that 'on Columbus day, we honor the skilled navigator and man of faith, whose courageous feat brought together continents and has inspired countless others to pursue their dreams and convictions - even in the face of extreme doubt and tremendous adversity'. "It's important because it's more accurate, I guess".
"We want to make sure this policy is implemented because how we present social justice issues to our students is how we represent ourselves as educators to our students and the community", Suslovic said after Monday's hour-long gathering, which included speeches, poems and music.
One of the themes throughout the day was the importance of deer in Native life.
"Growing up nobody thought about it because there was no understanding or the real history of the United States", said Llanes.
Adelaide Rosa, an SU graduate, called Columbus "despicable", and said much of his legacy was erased or forgotten in "white colonialist histories". Under a tarp just outside Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, two deer lay on tables, ready to be prepared and processed.
Deer, James explained, serve an important role in uniting people.
"We would like to see stronger ties with the Tigua Ysleta del Sur and Mescalero Apache peoples, for instance", Shepherd said. "We're trying to expand that peace amongst everybody".
"It's not an 'either or, it's both", said Cuomo.
Far from the courageous explorer who set off to prove the world was round, Columbus was in fact a treacherous excuse for a human being who accidentally landed on an island and proceeded to impart all kinds of atrocities on the native people, including murder, slavery and genocide.