Target: Wayne Niederhauser, President of Utah Senate
Goal: Fight for the changing of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day out of respect for Native Americans.
A bill that would replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day has recently been passed by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee up to the full Senate at the Capitol. The bill was passed 3-1 with Salt Lake City Senator Jim Dabakis arguing in favor of the bill, noting that Native blood was present before the arrival of European “settlers.”
Native Americans and others have long protested the national holiday since it idolizes a man that encouraged the invasion of the Americas, directly and indirectly resulting in the mass rape and genocide of Native American populations. To celebrate this holiday is to commend what this man did and what subsequently resulted in a close-to-invisible Native American population that suffers extremely high rates of mental illness, poverty, and unemployment when compared to other racial groups.
Utah has a positive history of recognizing holidays that reflect the inclusion of minority groups in America. In 2000, Utah changed its “Civil Rights Day” to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and has also recognized “Pioneer Day,” a holiday to commemorate Mormon settlement, since 1857. Sign this petition to urge President of the Utah Senate to accept the bill into legislation, changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Dear Senator Niederhauser,
I am writing this letter to urge you and the entire Senate to vote in the affirmative for the bill suggesting that Columbus Day be changed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. As you know, five other states have made this positive change and it would be fitting for a unique state like Utah to be a leader in progressive healing for Native American communities all across the Americas.
As you know, Christopher Columbus is not a hero to most. As someone who is inaccurately labeled as the discoverer of America, Columbus invaded the homes of inhabitants, manipulated them, mistreated them and encouraged the rape and murder of thousands of Indigenous peoples.
It is time that we recognize that a Columbus Day is not needed and not even wanted by the majority of Americans. We must begin to recognize the systematic oppression and cultural genocide that Native Americans suffer from today and make a change that signals we are allies of Native American communities. We show true ignorance when we celebrate Columbus Day as a country but then wonder why minorities feel discriminated against.
Please pass the bill to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ali Zifan