Hundreds attended an Indigenous Peoples’ Day event on Randall’s Island on Monday, Oct. 10 as several pols pushed to have the day officially recognized.
While those celebrating Italian heritage lined Fifth Avenue for the annual parade in Midtown, others gathered on Randall’s Island to recognize the loss of life and culture resulting from Christopher Columbus making landfall.
The celebration of the United States’ native people took place over a two-day period–Sunday and Monday–and wowed crowds with traditional dress and dance. Performances also included customary music that dazzled spectators. It is through this festival organizers attempted to drive home what was attempted to be drove out hundreds of years prior through bloodshed.
“Like many in our city, I do not mark today by celebrating the name or legacy of Christopher Columbus. In changing the holiday’s name, we do not alter the history of this country and continent – only how we choose to elevate and honor it. In this and all cases, it is critical to look at the stories we tell of our history in their full truth – and do our best to stand now with the oppressed, rather than the oppressor. Changing a holiday’s name will not undo the harm inflicted on Indigenous communities, but it begins a reckoning with it. It stands at least as a statement of our intention to learn from, rather than repeat, past mistakes,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said in a statement.
Senator Jessica Ramos Assembly Member Marcela Mitaynes attended the event, calling upon New York to officially dub the date Indigenous Peoples’ Day by signing a petition and pushing a bill forward.
“Seventeen states have reckoned with the painful history of Columbus Day, but NY is not one of them. 20k New Yorkers have already signed this Color of Change petition to support Marcela Mitaynes and my efforts to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” Ramos wrote on Twitter.