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Indigenous people’s day paves path for diversity

Picture+Credit%3A+Greg+Gilbert
Picture Credit: Greg Gilbert

Picture Credit: Greg Gilbert

Picture Credit: Greg Gilbert

Yukta Parikh

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In the 2016-2017 school year, District 219 decided it will no longer be celebrating Columbus Day, but will instead celebrate Indigenous People’s Day to promote the diversity of our community. This was a change led by students in student government.

In the 2016-2017 school year, it was decided that there would be a religious neutral calendar for the upcoming school year. Murtaza Ukani, senior, realized that Columbus Day would be a national holiday that students would be getting the day off. Ukani thought that this was not something that was befitting of our community. “Through Student Government, we expressed these grievances with the Board of Education who agreed with us,” Ukani said.

Columbus day exists due to the Italian American community which wanted to celebrate the contributions of Italians.  “It comes partly from the Italian-American community trying to have a day to recognize Italian-American heritage,” Pankaj Sharma, history teacher, said.

Christopher Columbus’ arrival led to the deaths of millions of indigenous people. He also wasn’t truly the first person to discover the Americas.  “It would be extremely contradicting to observe a holiday celebrating a man who massacred thousands of innocent native peoples,” Miriam Berkson, senior, said.

This change means that more attention will be brought to the indigenous community that has suffered due to Christopher Columbus’ actions.

 

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Indigenous people’s day paves path for diversity