American Indian group struggles to abolish Columbus Day

By Valerie Urbanik -

“Christopher Columbus did a lot of evil things to my people,” said Three Eagle Cloud.

An Oberlin reisdent and a member of the American Indian Issues and Action Committee, he is angry that Columbus Day is still a holiday and is seeking to have it removed from the national calendar.

Columbus Day was established in 1934 by an act of Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt. Starting in 1970, it has been observed on the second Monday of October.

Twenty-two years ago, Three Eagle Cloud began his opposition to the holiday because of the way history whitewashes Columbus’ treatment of American Indians.

“It’s a lie what they’re teaching today,” he said. “He wasn’t a hero.” Columbus raped, murdered, and tortured native peoples in the Americas, he said.

He has partnered with other Native Americans in Florida and across the U.S. trying to eliminate the celebration of Columbus Day. Recently, the committee has tried talking with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and others.

Senators have not made an commitments on the issue, Three Eagle Cloud said.

“We’re not asking for a lot,” he said. “I just want what’s fair.”

Cloud said 23 states have already removed Columbus Day as a holiday. He hopes Ohio will soon join those ranks.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.

By Valerie Urbanik