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East Lansing recognizes Indigenous Peoples' Day

October 9, 2018
The City of East Lansing logo from a recycling bin at the East Lansing Public Works Department headquarters on March 20, 2018. (Annie Barker | State News)
The City of East Lansing logo from a recycling bin at the East Lansing Public Works Department headquarters on March 20, 2018. (Annie Barker | State News) —

In the City of East Lansing, the second Monday of October – formerly known as Columbus Day – is now recognized as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

An East Lansing policy resolution passed in September of 2016 made way for the replacement.

Christopher Columbus, an Italian navigator, began the colonization process of the Americas. According to the Smithsonian Magazine,"the colonial takeovers of the Americas, starting with Columbus, led to the deaths of millions of Native people and the forced assimilation of survivors."

The name change is also due in part to the lack of national attention generally given to Native Americans. Indigenous Peoples' Day recognizes them specifically.

The name change recognizes "progress our society has accomplished through Native American thought and culture," according to the East Lansing City Council.

Other cities, including San Francisco and Cincinnati, have made the change. Entire states  –  including Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont and Oregon – have also made the switch. 

The specificity of the name change varies by location. For instance, Hawaii recognizes the second Monday of October as Discoverers' Day, while South Dakota opts for Native American Day.

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