Houghton–Columbus Day is being observed throughout the United States, marking the discovery of America. Michigan Tech is putting a modern spin on things and celebrating those who were here before Columbus.
With drums blaring, the Woodland singers performed Monday afternoon on the campus of Michigan Tech University near the husky statue. This is how administrators choose to welcome the federal holiday. The diversity of the celebration is something many students appreciate.
Riley Hibbard is a Tech senior and says, “I think there was pretty much no awareness when I was growing up in elementary school to the real history of indigenous people and Native Americans.”
Some students have strong views about the holiday and openly voice that they feel Columbus brought harm to this country and displaced Native Americans.
Emily Shaw is also a Tech student but has stronger views stating, “This country was founded in genocide and we perpetuated genocide for a really time.”
She says she is glad the Governor declared Monday Indigenous day and feels it shows respect to those who were here before Columbus.
But, at least one Michigan Tech administrator disagrees and says the celebration is not about the holiday. Kellie Raffaellai handles student diversity and says, “It’s about recognizing indigenous people all over the world and celebrating and recognizing the land Michigan Tech is seated on.”
Columbus Day is not an official holiday in Michigan, but increasing numbers are abandoning traditional celebrations and using indigenous day instead, something some students here feel may be uncomfortable at first, but healthier as a nation.