ROCHESTER, Minn. – Monday was the last time you’ll see “Columbus Day” on the Rochester school calendar. Last week the school board voted to replace it with “Indigenous People’s Day.”
The request for change was brought to the school board’s attention by the Rochester American Indian Parent Committee.
Nationwide, there has been a push to shift focus away from Christopher Columbus, as most historians largely agree that he did not discover America because there were people already living here.
“For me to have that truth brought out that that’s what they are teaching in schools now, so it just makes sense that this would be something that you would want to focus on,” explains Valerie Guimaraes, the Founder of the American Indian Parent Committee.
She hopes the City of Rochester follows in the school district’s footsteps and also recognized Indigenous People’s Day.
“It would be a time to pause, not only think about the atrocities but also to consider the positive contributions Native Americans have made in this nation, particularly in our state of Minnesota and also in the City of Rochester.”
The school district will recognize Indigenous People’s Day beginning next year, they have asked the American Indian Parent Committee to help plan the celebration.