Houston recognizes Indigenous Peoples Day today

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Monday, October 12, 2020
Houston recognizes Indigenous Peoples Day
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The city council voted last month to recognize the holiday today, in addition to Columbus Day, but the decision was highly debated.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Today, Houston will officially recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.

The city council voted last month to recognize the day in addition to the federally recognized Columbus Day.

This decision by the city council comes several weeks after the Christopher Columbus statue was removed from Bell Park after being repeatedly vandalized.

RELATED: Christopher Columbus statue removed from Houston park

Christopher Columbus, for some, is considered to be a pretty controversial figure in American history.

Some perceive his arrival to the United States as the beginning of the downfall for the many indigenous people who were enslaved and killed during colonization.

But supporters of Columbus and the holiday argue that recognizing Columbus Day is also about highlighting the contributions of Italian-Americans to the United States.

"The Italian-Americans faced, and we're not talking years, decades, of discrimination that rival other ethnic groups. And this was their day, and now we're making them share it," Councilmember Greg Travis said in a discussion about the decision to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. "And I think it's insulting and offensive to the Italian-Americans."

"Never in my life heard it as Italian-American day, all about Christopher Columbus who founded America, which is a lie," Councilmember Jerry Davis stated in rebuttal.

SEE ALSO: After heated debate, Houston City Council recognizes Indigenous Peoples Day

"The Native Americans were here for thousands of years," Councilmember Robert Gallegos said. "Yet he's getting credit for discovering America. Let's not forget the atrocities this man brought to the Americas."

Indigenous supporters of the move by the city council say this is a huge first step for the city in being more inclusive, and say they hope in the future that Houston will be home to an indigenous peoples' museum.

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