COLORADO SPRINGS— People across southern Colorado commemorated Indigenous People’s Day on a day that once honored Christopher Columbus.
“A lot of people are becoming more aware that indigenous people are here and we are among everybody,” said Antonia Media with the Colorado Springs Indigenous community.
Last year, Colorado officially replaced Columbus Day with Frances Xavier Cabrini Day and became the first state paid legal holiday to recognize a woman in the nation.
However, some people have dubbed October 11 in the state of Colorado as Indigenous People’s Day.
“We celebrate Columbus as if he brought America to the world, when the indigenous people that were here already believed the land was there and existed,” said Dr. ‘Ilaheva Tua’one, UCCS Assistant Professor of Native American and Indigenous Studies, “when we start talking real about giving land back and sovereignty back to indigenous people then indigenous people are getting what they need.”
But not everyone is on board with the change. On Monday, an event honoring Christopher Columbus Day was held in Pueblo with Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert as a guest speaker.
“It’s the easiest thing to believe that Columbus was a good man, and so I want to forgive them for their ignorance,” said Dr. Tua’one in response.
Dr. Tua’one said enrollment in Native American and Indigenous courses at UCCS is increasing, but the battle continues when it comes to fighting for indigenous people and keeping their traditions alive.
“People should expect a much broader push towards the celebration of indenigous day but also holidays, history and knowledge centers,” said Dr. Tua’one.
Medina is slated to go up to the Colorado Springs City Council on Tuesday morning and read the council’s invocation and singing a prayer song in front of members.
“We are still here practicing our culture and our language and we fought for so many years,” said Medina. “even with the coming of Christopher Columbus we are still fighting to hold on to that and we are fighting.”