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Morgantown Human Rights Commission hopes to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the city

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:14 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - The Morgantown Human Rights Commission was working to change Columbus Day to honor indigenous culture instead.

As more information about the origins of the Americas surfaced, many have discovered that Christopher Columbus wasn’t someone they wanted to memorialize.

Human rights commissioner, Bonnie Brown said people needed to be aware of all sides of history.

“It’s time to move forward and be a more just society. That means acknowledging our history, the great parts of our history and the ugly parts of our history, and finding a path forward,” Brown explained.

Brown was also a professor of Native American Studies at West Virginia University and said she thought the name change was necessary.

“We don’t want to honor people who are complicit in genocidal acts, such as enslaving indigenous people,” she said.

Brown added Columbus and his crew landed in Central America in 1492. However, he originally thought they were in Asia. Columbus brought violence, disease, and enslavement to the indigenous people on the islands. These people had lived there for years before he arrived.

Brown said she believed it was important to recognize how much indigenous people have contributed to American culture.

“There are so many diverse and cultures within what we broadly call Native America or Indigenous America there are 574 different federally recognized tribes,” Brown added.

She said this was a small fraction of the tribes that existed prior to Columbus’ arrival.

The commission planned to ask the city council at their meeting on October 26 to declare the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

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