CMU to unveil mural honoring Indigenous people

Opening ceremony to take place Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. in Bovee UC

Bovee University Center in autumn on the campus of Central Michigan University on Thursday, Sept. 29.

To dedicate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Central Michigan University will unveil its new Native American mural in the Bovee University Center on Oct 10. The opening ceremony will begin in the UC lobby at 3 p.m. and include speakers from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and the CMU community.

In the fall of 2017, the Student Government Association passed a resolution replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day on campus. 

The view around Columbus Day and the Italian explorer himself has shifted in the past few decades. According to public radio program, "The World," many people have begun to view it as a commemoration of the beginning of a genocide that wiped out approximately 90% of the Native American population, rather than a patriotic holiday.

Due to today's accessibility of historical information, awareness of the genocide against Indigenous people that occurred due to imperialism and colonization is much more widespread. Some states have decided to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ day in place of Columbus day, USA Today reported.

While this change to the campus calendar came relatively recently, the push for replacing Columbus Day with a holiday for Indigenous peoples’ has been growing for decades.

In 1992, at the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage, Native Americans in Berkeley, California organized the first Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The city council formally adopted this holiday shortly after.

Indigenous Peoples’ day can also trace its history back to the United Nations. 

In 1977, Indigenous leaders from around the world organized a United Nations conference in Geneva to promote indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. Their first recommendation was to observe Oct. 12 as an International Day of Solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.