Red Wing considering changing Columbus Day to First Peoples Day

ChristopherColumbusRect.jpg
Columbus "made no meaningful contribution" to Minnesota and behaved with "extreme cruelty to the people he found in 'America,'" the resolution states.
The city of Red Wing is considering a resolution that would officially change the name of the Columbus Day holiday to First Peoples Day.

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The proposal is the work of the city's Human Rights Commission, and especially commissioner Scott Bender, a 50-year-old high school history and social studies teacher who characterized Columbus Day as "just a disgusting honorarium to a man who so grossly violated the modern standards of human rights."

"A lot of people will say, 'Well, you're just judging him by the standards today,'" Bender told us. "That's not true. [Columbus] was put on trial in his own day by people that thought he crossed the line in abusing and mistreating the native people he was running into. It was his own people who put him on trial."

While a number of states, including California and Texas, don't observe Columbus Day, Bender said he believes Red Wing would become the first municipality in Minnesota to rename the controversial federal holiday. (City and labor contracts wouldn't be affected, meaning Red Wing workers who usually have Columbus Day off would still have First Peoples Day off.)

Bender, a seven-year Army veteran who describes himself as "Republican leaning," said his hope is that if the Red Wing City Council approves the change, "other city councils around the state will think, 'That's an idea whose time has come.'"

With regard to the First Peoples Day name, the resolution points out that "Red Wing's First Peoples settled several town sites in the area which, at their peak, made the Red Wing area one of the most densely populated areas in North America" before those people "suffered abuse, forced eviction and near-genocide at the hands of the greater American society."

But the First Peoples "persevered, recovered and rebuilt their communities to once again become an integral part of Red Wing society," the resolution continues.

The Human Rights Commission will meet with City Council members tonight at 5:30 for a workshop during which Bender hopes to allay any concerns councilors might have about the proposal ahead of a formal vote.

Asked how likely he thinks it is that the resolution will be approved in time to change the name before this year's October 13 Columbus Day holiday, Bender said he's "hopeful."

(For more, click to page two.)

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32 comments
Katie Berger Tremaine
Katie Berger Tremaine

Acknowledging the wrongs of history is the first step to building a better future.

Erin Burckhard
Erin Burckhard

It's Native American day where I'm from.... never understood why nobody else followed our suit. The idea of celebrating Columbus coming to america and what he did is RIDICULOUS! Almost as ridiculous as someone's comment above that "none of us would be here with out him." Are you fucking kidding me? If only schools weren't afraid to teach what he really did, we wouldn't be celebrating a day just for this ass clown. He deserves no extra respect than any other genocidal maniacal person who used their power and took their beliefs and rammed them down everyone's throats. Sound familiar? Yeah Hitler. We don't celebrate him (and we shouldn't) we don't celebrate the first day they started slavery in America (and we shouldn't) so why do we continually injustice the Native Americans and not give them the day that really belonged to them in the first place, like all of the land you ungrateful Columbus day lovers live on. And no, I am not a Native American toting off about my heritage. But I am an American, and I think not changing the name to something other than Columbus day is a repetitive offense to our history as a country and the people who were here before us.

Jason Ehlers
Jason Ehlers

Colombo was not American, he was sponsored by the Spanish crown. Read about what was going on in Castille, the Inquisition, and so on.

Brian Steidl
Brian Steidl

I think that it helps to see us and the past in the light of the present. To ignore the genocide and enslavement of non whites is to see only a small part of his life. That legacy is what this change is about. I think it is hard to hate him or any individuals in their time. You can hate the results of their actions and battle hate in our times. We are all explore but we don't have to be genocidal f-heads.

senatortombstone
senatortombstone

Redwing has a human rights committee? LOL! What a waste of taxpayer dollars. Human rights committees rarely promote legitimate rights and instead focus on entitlements; and they never prevent nor stop real human rights violations.

It is sad that CC is so maligned and that nonsensical proposals are made (which are really nothing more than self-righteous grandstanding by those making the proposals) to honor aboriginals, who had thousands of years to develop a civilization but never became more than hunter-gatherers, instead of the man who stood at the forefront of the most monumentous event in the history of Western Civilization.

For a good rebuttal of such nonsense and for a defense of CC, I recommend "The enemies of Christopher Comumbus," by Thomas A. Bowden.

Justin Irvine
Justin Irvine

But our modern standards were not their standards during that time. Is he a hero? No and I'll bet if you ask 1000 kids who their hero's are Columbus doesn't even get mentioned. He himself died in fairly short order after the discovery so he literally is not responsible. He just wanted a shorter trade route to China and the east orient. He was just an explorer. The ruling factions who brought armies are the murderers who wanted to conquer them. And with all your outrage you fail to remember (Americans any way) we would not be alive without him leaving Spain.

Joe McShan
Joe McShan

Are people seriously defending genocide with "oh, it happened a long time ago"? Do you think Armenians would be like" Oh Yea, that's cool. They had different standards"? Slavery was cool because standards were different? Why don't we celebrate the slaughter of the Children's crusades because standards were different. That's the dumbest excuse. There people who lived here already. You can't "discover" someone else's home and call it a "new world" when it's someone else's old home. It's cool that they came upon a culture they hadn't known of and traded a bit, but everything beyond that is inexcusable and attempting to save that holiday is... Eh.

Luis Rojas
Luis Rojas

Curious if people will say the same thing about Hitler 100 years from now "HEY HEY HEY HE WASNT A SAINT! STOP APOLOGIZING GERMANY!"

Charlie Howerton
Charlie Howerton

Why don't we call it Christopher Columbus Casino Day then everybody wins

Robert Martin
Robert Martin

Columbus was put on trial by the people of his time for his actions.

Angela Kowalczyk
Angela Kowalczyk

I lived in south Dakota and it is called native American day :) ....it should be everywhere

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

How do you hold someone who died 500 years ago to "modern standards of human rights"? Maybe he wasn't a saint. Stop apologizing for history. America.

Reier Erickson
Reier Erickson

I mean, if we are really to honor the first Europeans to land in the Americas, perhaps we should start with the Vikings. That said, Columbus was a repulsive human being and deserves no more honor than Adolph Hitler.

TweetsAreYours
TweetsAreYours

After two days with not a single thing worthy of blogging about, it's nice to see the news drought is over. I have no idea how KARE11 filled its newscast last night if there was nothing newsworthy going on.

Brian Carpenter
Brian Carpenter

Personally, I find it a little silly to demonize the actions of a man who lived over 500 years ago during a time when his actions were not only acceptable but celebrated. It's unfair to hold a man to modern standards when the standards of his time were wildly different.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Let's celebrate extinct cultures that day instead please.

Jonathon Richter
Jonathon Richter

Perhaps renaming the day 'Discovery Day' or something to celebrate the discovery of the New World would be more appropriate. Either way, I do think a change of name is in order to take attention away from Columbus.

David Gustafson
David Gustafson

While I agree with the change, Mr Bender's overblown language seems more intended to get a fight going than to accomplish anything else.

Mike Worcester
Mike Worcester

Putting aside the hyperbole, how about we call it Explorers Day, to honor all those who bravely went where others dared not. From the earliest human movements to space travel, there are lots of genuine heroes we can acknowledge. Just a thought.

Marlena Myles
Marlena Myles

In South Dakota, it's been renamed Native American Day, so why not be progressive too?

kelly.roberts19
kelly.roberts19

The evll subhuman christians don't care about what's right or wrong, only what serves their self-righteousness and wallets. 

enigma13
enigma13

Nobody ever claimed that Columbus was American.

senatortombstone
senatortombstone

What part of history ever records CC specifically contemplating genocide? You do realize that up until the last century, conquest, slavery, and genocide were par for the course. Everybody did it, but only the West actively tried to stop it. If we cannot celebrate CC's achievements because aboriginals died and were enslaved as a consequence of his discoveries, then there is not much from the history of any culture, people, or nation that we can celebrate, especially of native, aborigonals.

_Joe_
_Joe_

Except that he was put on trial for his actions at the time.

Guess you missed that part of the article in your rush tell everybody what you think about it.

_Joe_
_Joe_

Jean-Luc Picard Day!!!!

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