Should Minnesota make Indigenous Peoples Day a state holiday?

For the first time Minneapolis is celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day.

In April, the city renamed the holiday commonly known as Columbus Day:

“We discovered Columbus, lost on our shores, sick, destitute, and wrapped in rags. We nourished him to health, and the rest is history,” said Lakota activist Bill Means. “He represents the mascot of American colonialism in the western hemisphere. And so it is time that we change a myth of history.”

Columbus Day is a federal holiday but not a state-enforced one, so businesses in Minnesota can choose whether or not they will remain open. The City of St. Paul, for example, remained open as usual today.

News Cut’s Bob Collins calls Columbus Day “a holiday for people who don’t know history,” as complicated as the history itself.

Today’s Question: Should Minnesota recognize Indigenous Peoples Day as a state holiday?

  • Mustafa

    Hello, have you heard who won the contract from Mortenson to demolish the Metrodome?

  • PaulJ

    Yep, but on a different day. No sense in discounting the plight of the masses of Europeans or the age of exploration. There should also be a day to remember the oppressed or enslaved.

  • Due Dilligance

    Thanksgiving might be enough if you brought greater emphasis to the cooperation of two peoples, races. Otherwise do it, but please, find a more poetic moniker.

  • Yes, but before that happens it should be raised to Indigenous Peoples Month, along the lines of Black History month. Just as February honors African-American difference makers, October could honor Indigenous Peoples difference makers, culminating in a special state holiday the week after Columbus Day. I would also vote to get Columbus Day forever eradicated as any kind of observable holiday, the time has come. He was no saint and did not discover America (or the “new world” for that matter.

    • scott44

      So, Columbus did not make a very important impact? Lets make an Amglo-Saxon Day, or maybe an Eastern Europian day! My family can be traced back to the Columbus crossing. I am very proud of Columbus day, and I am about 1/2 American Indian.
      The way the world is turning into being so touchy felly is a joke to our ancesters.

      • That’s literally true, Columbus did not really make a very important impact. He discovered lands that others had already been to but weren’t able to reap the reward from, as Columbus was. Columbus was an opportunist. I don’t deny him credit for bringing massive wealth to Spain, but he was really following in the footsteps of previous explorers. And I guess he got it just a little wrong, being in the West Indies and thinking he was in India. Not the most competent fellow, obviously. What planet are you on, Scott? Touchy feely? This is about getting the facts straight and setting the record straight, giving people their due and acknowledging the agonizing history of the indigenous ones who we the subjects of ethnic cleansing. As a native person yourself, I’m surprised you don’t seem to get that.

        • scott44

          By your comment, we should not explore space or the deepths of the ocean? What I get is that no matter what columbus did make a big impact. And that has nothing to do with race. By the same token as your reply to mine, we should get rid of Abraham Lincolns birthday? Martin Luther Jr. birthday? Heck some of my ancestors came across on a boat, others crossed the land bridge that connected the North American continent to the Asian Continent, or they came up from way further down south.
          On a side note, I am happier then all heck that they ran out of beer and had to land!

          Honestly I am as indignous as anybody else. Some of my family got here in 1492 and some were here long before that. Lets just do away with any sort of holiday that affends someone.

          • You say I believe we should not explore space or the oceans? Why would you put words in my mouth like that? You are acting like an ultra-conservative tee-bagger who thinks he can tell what people think about every issue based on what they say about one thing. My point is that Columbus was a criminal. He and his men raped, pillaged, robbed, intentionally spread disease and who knows all of what else he did on his merry way to fame and fortune. You want to support this glowing citizen of the world? I don’t. I don’t care what generation, what year, what nationality, what purpose a person has, there is no excuse for perpetrating criminal behavior. There should be no excuse making. There should be NO glorification. Do us a favor, before you post publicly, educate yourself. Because you may not even know that you are defending one of the world’s worst criminals, someone who sought deliberately to annihilate another race. Is that what you really want to do? If so, we’re having the wrong debate here.

          • scott44

            I was not trying to put words in your more, sorry it came across that way. My point is that Columbus explored, as we do in space and the ocean depths.
            You are very wrong about me being a tea bagger. I don’t and have never supported any one major political pary over another.
            Ciminal or not, he helpped build this country, wrong? I celebrate his accomplishment of his travels. The really said part not many people know a few or any of the names of those that traveled with him. He was just the leader of the journey.
            I know two of the last names.
            I am sure that we can agree to disagree.

          • I cannot agree to disagree here. Columbus absolutely DID NOT HELP TO BUILD THIS COUNTRY, my friend. I look at your spelling and I wonder if your thought processes might need a bit of catching up. Celebrate him all you want, he was a barbarian who happened to have a lot of access to money. “Just the leader”? Leaders are supposed to control their men. Columbus either directed his men to commit atrocities or he was too inept to prevent them from doing so. Whatever actually happened, I place my vote with option A. Again, Columbus did nothing to promote the development of this country in 1492, as all the kiddie books taught us back in the day. It’s time to let go of that one, my friend.

          • davehoug

            Columbus did nothing to promote the development of this country in 1492 = = = WHEW, I agree his character was bad, even bad for his time. But I am surprised at your statement. Folks may wish he had never landed, but most historians WOULD lay the development of the new world at his feet.

          • And I would disagree with them. Just by virtue of the fact that he happened to be here (and didn’t even know it) isn’t good enough for me. His arrival was accidental, essentially a quirk of fate. He does not deserve credit for the “development” of the “new world” because all he did once he got here was exploit the people he found, turned them into slaves for producing wealth for Spain. How is that helping develop the west?

          • Happy Scooter

            The real LOL here is that, in addition to Columbus Day, every the other holidays you mentioned have everything to do with race. Like, seriously, everything.

    • davehoug

      He was no saint and did not discover America or the “new world” for that matter. = = = AGREED…..however he did open up vast lands to Europe mistake or not. Everything changed on two continents (for good or bad)……that is big enough to celebrate.

      • We have very different ideas of what events warrant celebration and what events don’t. He opened up vast lands to Europe, so maybe they are the ones who should be celebrating Columbus Day. Not sure about that other statement “Everything changed on the two continents,” because there were other explorers who influence trade routes to the West Indies. Columbus’s most significant contribution to humanity was in the wealth he helped develop for the king of Spain. So why would Americans want to celebrate something that benefited the Spanish king? Let alone why celebrate someone who got rich on the backs of the poor. How did the natives benefit from his exploits? Morality isn’t a zero-sum game. You CAN get what you want in life without giving up the profits you wish to make, it just requires that you scale back your greed a bit and share. That’s something Columbus and the US right wing have in common, there is that.

  • Dan

    No, what Columbus did was an amazing feat, it deserves to be recognized. And really, why should the indigenous people of Minnesota have a say in it? They were not a part of that history or that part of the country.

    • Katy

      You must be joking.

      • Dan


        • Dan, Columbus may have been an “explorer,” but read between the lines and read some alternative sources on the matter. Columbus was a criminal. He had one objective. Find new people to take advantage of. That included the intentional transmission of diseases which he knew the people would not be able to fight off. He was an opportunist and a barbarian. He should not be celebrated. He should be denounced. Time to let go of the ol’ “Columbus discovered America, hooray for him,” thing we learned in our school books back in the day. Open your books and open your mind, my friend.

          • Dan

            Rex, you need to be more consistent with your comments. You tell me how bad Columbus was and how he had such an impact, and yet in your comment to scott44 you say Columbus Did Not make a very important impact. Make up your mind or else you come off sounding like a troll. And please, don’t pretend to know what I have or have not studied. Seems like this is a time to ‘agree to disagree’. All I was doing was expressing my opinion, giving an answer to the question the article asked. Thanks.

          • Dan, Who are you trying to kid. The way you are interpreting my comments makes me wonder if you have any understanding of either the issue or the language. If you point out an inconsistency, document it. In this case, you are so far off base, I can only interpret your post in one way, as an attack. Make up my mind or I sound like a troll. OK, well, you ARE entitled to your opinion, Dan, but in this case you should have kept your opinion to yourself, because you’ve come off sounding like someone who has no clue. If you need someone to make something clear, ask them about it, don’t go leveling these silly comments. They really do make you look bad. My comments were crystal clear. 1) Columbus was a criminal. 2) He had nothing to do with the development of this country. Nuff said.

          • Dan

            Rex I did indeed document your inconsistency in my previous post, it is plain enough to see.. The tone of your comments show you have indeed crossed over the line from debate to trolldom. I never tried to attack you but you are clearly trying to attack me. Just as you are attacking others on here. Look at all the posts you seem to feel the need to make! My comments have been far more civil than yours. I am done with your pettiness and will no longer respond to you.

    • Collectively they were a part of it, Dan. The indigenous peoples of this continent, like those of many other lands, are survivors of massive and hideous campaigns of ethnic cleansing. Talk about dying for your country…Europeans waltzed into someone’s back yard and used war clubs to their toothpicks. They were essentially defenseless, an easy target. I am NOT proud of my WASP heritage as it is reflected by the treatment of the Native peoples. THEY DESERVE A MONTH, NOT A DAY!

      • Dan

        That is a totally different subject. Has nothing to do with Columbus, he was an explorer, not the leader of an invasion. And really, read your history, people everywhere in the world have been invading and conquering each other non stop. Happening even today.

    • Happy Scooter

      You weren’t there, either, so why should you have a say in it?

      • Dan

        Just giving my opinion, just like you. Although your response seems more trolling.

    • It may seem amazing to people who sit around all day and watch TV or play video games, because those people are bored and ANYTHING seems exciting to them. The only problem is that bored people also believe anything they are told. Don’t believe everything you hear. What Sue de Nim said was right. It was sheer accident that he landed in the West Indies. He had NO CLUE where he was, for gosh sakes! He was an inept barbarian who was trying to line his own wallet with money from a king he was trying to fool. On second thought, that sounds like the perfect guy to elect president, right, Dan?

  • Sue de Nim

    Columbus Day should be abolished regardless of whether we establish an Indigenous Peoples Day. There’s a reason the continents were named after Amerigo Vespucci, who recognized that what Columbus “discovered” was actually another continent, not the eastern edge of Asia. Columbus was just plain lucky. He underestimated the size of the earth by more than a third (even though Eratosthenes had calculated how big it was earlier than 200 BCE). Had the Americas not been in his way, he and his men would have perished at sea for lack of supplies.

  • davehoug

    I personally feel no problem honoring Indigenous People but I have a problem with trying to wipe out Columbus Day. We celebrate the accomplishment, not the person because he was cruel in many ways. ADD to the information about Columbus don’t try to suppress him. There is room enough on the calendar for two days.

    • Columbus, as the subject of an imperialist King, was a slave trader. In
      my mind anything to do with making people into chattel is evil,
      criminal. I understand about the “times he lived in,” etc., but that
      doesn’t make it right. Columbus was NOT a good guy. We should not be
      celebrating his accomplishments. Doing so only further makes us look
      ignorant as Americans. You look at “the accomplishment” that Columbus made. It was purely accidental. The guy didn’t even know where the hell he was. It was only because he knew he could enslave the island natives of West Indies that he bothered staying there for as little time as he did in the first place. Why do we insist on putting this criminal on a pedestal? That’s not what a civilized society does. If it is, then we should be telling the world we’d rather be known as an immoral society of corrupt citizens who value NOT the good that others do, but how badly we can bully and rape and enslave other people. That ought to set real well.

  • JQP

    How about just have “Personal History Day”
    where any one can honor their prior lineage, culture, country, predecessors,
    Personally I like the idea because unlike most holidays… There is no singular cultural theme for the business to plaster over all of their goods.

    • Too ubiquitous. Don’t we want to honor the Native American and other native peoples who were subjected to the atrocities of ethnic cleansing, rather than further denigrate their sacrifice, their memory, their accomplishments as so many native tribespeople did?

  • John

    9 comments so far and no one has mentioned the Vikings (the real Vikings.) Whether you think they made it all the way to western Minnesota and carved the Kensington Runestone, the Vikings certainly discovered the continent way before Columbus. Check out L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland. There was a move in the state legislature to rename Columbus Day as Explorer’s Day in the ’70s or ’80s. I think that would make sense. This doesn’t have anything to do with indigenous people. In fact, the indigenous people killed the explorers.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      The difference is that the Vikings’ contact with Vinland (what they called North America) came to an end and was forgotten, and the knowledge of it never spread to the rest of Europe. It was not until 1960 that archeological evidence proved that the tales of Vinland in the Norse sagas were anything other than folklore.

      But I like the idea of renaming Columbus Day as Explorers’ Day (with the apostrophe in the correct place to indicate the plural).

    • Happy Scooter

      Too bad about those explorers. RIP explorers. :'(

  • Al

    Regardless of what is substituted, if anything, I’d love to get rid of Columbus day. I feel ashamed when I think about it.

    And: I have European heritage, and no, I don’t think we need a European heritage day, thank you very much.

    • davehoug

      Sincere question? Why ashamed???

      Columbus did what most explorers of his age did….conquer lands for the crown. Sure he was cruel and I am glad we are not like him today, but we don’t celebrate his character, we celebrate the opening of the new world to Europe…… to survive without horses? A true mixed bag of consequences but no going back.

  • Pearly

    Italian’s are always getting the shaft

    • Jon

      You’re daaaaaaaaaaamn right. (Shaft!)

  • whitedoggie44

    Happy Columbus Day, Happy Columbus Day Happy Columbus Day.-Revisionist history is and always will be a sham. What is next , Washington and Jefferson since they were slave owners at a time when most property owners owned slave. Columbus was who he was due to the time period he lived. Turning him into the blue eye devi is a joke. Nothing against native americans biut I own them nothing.

    • Happy Scooter

      History is, and always has been, revisionist. Authenticity in any sense is a farce, so whatever.

    • You own them nothing, whitedoggie? Next time, try at least making a few spelling corrections to your posts. Of course, it’s not just the spelling in your line of reasoning (if you can even call it that) that I object to. What is a blue eye devi? Good Lord, whitedoggie…….

      • whitedoggie44

        Sorry teacher and it’s the white man moron

        • Thank your for enlightening us with the your eloquent name- calling and demonstrations of sub-human intelligence. It’s always nice to know who one is dealing with. Now run along…

  • Happy Scooter

    Yes. This is the final word on the matter, so everyone else need not answer, thanks.

  • Jamie

    After reading today’s commentary, I think we need an INDIGNANT People’s Day or maybe just an IGNORANT People’s Day, or perhaps an IGNOMINIOUS People’s Day.

  • Columbo

    Let’s be blunt. The people who hate Columbus Day hate America. They hate Washington and Jefferson because they owned slaves, they hate the founding of Jamestown, they refuse to celebrate the California Gold Rush (and, indeed shouted it down in 1999 in its sesquicentennial), and they hate America itself, but will happily take advantage of its prosperity and freedoms. Columbus’ discovery of “America” was justifiably celebrated because it led to the founding of America. Outside of religious figures, it was the most consequential event in human history.

    • You are spouting empty-headed dribble. You cannot just lump people like this. The people who hate Columbus Day hate America? You’re way beyond over-the-top in this comment. I hate Columbus Day. I do not hate America. I hate what it does sometimes, but I don’t hate my country. I hate Columbus Day because I know Columbus was out for one thing, to make slaves of anyone he could. And I also hate slavery. And I also hate the kind of speech you’re spouting here because it’s filled with hate. I hate hate. I hate ignorance. I hate your post because of how it puts people in a box you’ve created to help define your narrow world.

      • Joe Schmooze


        You make some good points but your disdain for The US is clear in your statements. Columbus’ main reason for coming here was not to get slaves. He was trying to find more efficient trade routes to India. His courageous journeys across the Atlantic opened up and encouraged further exploration and travel which led to the European colonization of the Americas. Now no country’s history is perfect and it is easy to play Monday-morning quarterback to events that occurred over 500 years ago. We celebrate Columbus Day to honor the courage and determination that Columbus had and celebrate that his journeys made the world a bit smaller in that it opened up new lands and travel routes to other explorers.

        It is rather ironic that you hate ignorance.

        • You’re right, I do hate ignorance, ignorance is the friend of hatred and fear, they all go hand in hand. And I see that same ignorance in your post above. You seem intent on clinging to the notion that Columbus committed barbaric acts along his “path to stardom.” You say, “We celebrate Columbus Day to honor the courage and determination that Columbus had,” but how much courage does it take to round up a bunch of indigenous people who never encountered white men with weapons and make them your slaves, women and children included? Sure it took courage to board a ship, leave home for months, even years on end, but he was being paid well for this, it was his job and he received compensation for what he did. He doesn’t need us to faun over him and make him the hero. Americans are really very fond of hero worship, only to find out later that their hero was nothing more than a paper tiger. Just like Columbus. Shake that ignorance, Joe, and open your mind. You might find out that other people have interesting and worthwhile things to say.

          • Joe Schmooze


            Do a bit more research on Columbus: His main purpose was not to make slaves of everyone and anyone he could. I get that you don’t like many of the things he did and few would argue with you on those things. But calling me ignorant for pointing out why we celebrate Columbus Day is not only mean spirited but has no basis in truth. Conquest was a part of the world back then and it is much easier to judge when one is separated from the situation and time period. Just because one is paid for something does not make the job he or she does less courageous. We need to look to further than our soldiers, policemen, firemen, and health care workers treating Ebola to know that.

          • GrammarNotsee

            On another point, it’s drivel and fawn – just to improve your knowledge so you don’t look ignorant in a future post.

          • And your point is???

  • Christopher Nguyen

    Why wouldn’t they get a month like every other celebrated history month?

    • You are right on. I suggest the same thing in earlier comments. It’s absurd they don’t have their own month. It’s high time. Let’s DO this!

  • Joe Schmooze

    As part American Indian, I am proud of the history and culture of the American Indian tribes. It is unfortunate that so much has been lost. I have no problems if people want to have a celebration to honor American Indians – but at some point you will run out of months or special days or holidays to honor current minority groups (some of which will at some point no longer be an actual minority). However, when you set aside a group and give them a month or a day or a new holiday, you can end up marginalizing them. We need to become one America again and start celebrating what unifies us, not what divides us. We need to become that melting pot again and not a tossed salad.