For the past month, the First Nations Student Union club here at Central Oregon Community College have been spearheading the movement to rename Columbus day to “Indigenous Day” in the state of Oregon.
The organization of the project, according to FNSU club, was inspired by two factors: the desire to honor those who died when this country was colonized and the uprise of interest in Indigenous Day replacing Columbus Day in major cities such as Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and Berkeley, California.
“We want to help heal old wounds from the past, shed light on the truth about Christopher Columbus, with the overall goal of educating future generations of the real history behind Columbus day,” explained FNSU member Mable Jackson, “The name change of Columbus Day would be a good step in the right direction, Columbus Day affects a diverse community, not only the American Indian.”
“I want my children to grow up in a community that is free from exploitation, ignorance, and violence.” stated Vicki Franklin, member of FNSU club.
The FNSU club is planning to meet with surrounding communities in upcoming months to gain support and get a feel for the level of interest in Oregon regarding changing the name Columbus Day to Indigenous Day. In addition, the club is currently in the midst of producing a powerpoint presentation to present to the community of Bend, Oregon in the near future with hopes of gaining support to start a local petition.
Anyone interested in participating with the FNSU club is welcome to contact Gina Ricketts, COCC Native American Program Coordinator. Furthermore, the FNSU meets weekly in the multicultural room (room 216) in the Coats Campus Center, located on the Bend COCC campus.
Jose Alvarez | The Broadside