Those born during previous generations typically recognize Oct. 10 as Columbus Day, but more and more individuals are substituting it in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“All people with good hearts, not just indigenous people, understand that the day Columbus landed in this country was the beginning of a horror story for indigenous people,” said Maria Rocha, executive director for the San Marcos Indigenous Cultures Institute. “A complete destruction of indigenous culture was perpetuated, and to celebrate that is not a good thing. Indigenous Peoples Day is all about joining together to correct history and support the indigenous perspective.”
Currently, only Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon and South Dakota do not officially celebrate Columbus Day, but support for the movement is growing rapidly.
“Indigenous children and non-indigenous children need to know the truth about what happened here in the Americas,” Rocha said.
The push to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day is relevant to this geographical area because San Marcos has always been a very sacred piece of land, Rocha said.
“San Marcos and the surrounding area was determined by archaeologists to be the oldest and longest inhabited site in North America,” Rocha said. “The primary inhabitants were native people, and the archaeological evidence suggests that indigenous people lived here for thirteen thousand years if not longer. They still live here today, and have a vested interest in this wonderful area – to keep it sacred.”