Webster University students have joined a national movement to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.
The Student Government Association (SGA) is assembling a proposal committee to submit the official change to Webster’s administration. The change was proposed by a member of the diversity council of several St. Louis universities to which Webster belongs.
Webster’s calendar does not currently recognize Columbus Day, but the proposal would add Indigenous Peoples’ Day Oct. 9.
SGA Ambassador for Student Inclusion Kalani Seaver is spearheading the proposal.
“With where we are in our political and social climate right now, I think that it’s important to recognize those who experience constant erasure from the narrative,” Seaver said.
The diversity council member who first brought this to SGA’s attention has reached out to many of the universities in St. Louis. Kelly Thompson, assistant director for the American Indian Student Association at Washington University, confirmed that their group is also in the process of a similar proposal.
The change is about recognizing a community that we continue to marginalize and discriminate against, Seaver said.
Berkeley, California, became the first city to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1992, fourteen years after it was first proposed, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Fusion.net reported 22 cities in the United States celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October 2016. This total included the entire state of South Dakota. 23 states in the U.S. formally recognize Columbus Day.
SGA’s proposal is still in its infancy and has yet to experience opposition. According to Seaver no objections to the proposal have been brought forward at this time.
“It’s about moving forward,” Seaver said.