Legislation introduced Monday to the Wisconsin State Legislature could possibly change the name of the second Monday in October from Christopher Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.
Rep. David Bowen, D-Milwaukee, introduced the legislation at Indian Community School Monday, where students last year drafted a resolution that was later approved by the Milwaukee County Board to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, according to a statement.
“I’m proud to introduce this measure honoring the people who lived for centuries on North America and here in Wisconsin before the so-called discovery of America by European explorers,” Bowen said.
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Allison Jornlin, a teacher at Indian Community School, led the students in creating last year’s resolution, according to the statement.
Jornlin said the students’ success, at the county level, shows children do not need to wait until they are older to make a difference.
“We are excited to take this effort to the state level with Rep. Bowen leading the charge, and hope a bipartisan showing of legislators will join together to celebrate Wisconsin’s native populations,” Jornlin said. “Ultimately, we hope to see Indigenous Peoples Day permanently replace Columbus Day on the federal level.”
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Bowen said the legislation would encourage education and celebration of Native American culture, especially in Wisconsin, home to thousands of Native Americans.
The legislation is now circulating the legislature for co-sponsors.