SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) —The second Monday in October has always been celebrated as Columbus Day. Now, communities nationwide are advocating for a new celebration, including Syracuse community members. Tehosterihens Deer, a member of the Syracuse community, said that the change is meaningful to the indigenous people nationwide.
“Over the years I went from being angry at this day I’m like ‘yay I get a holiday, but I don’t like what this represents,’ to still being angry but wanting to make a change,” Deer said.
Deer is from the Kahnawake nation just outside of Montréal. After learning and celebrating Indigenous culture for years with his family, he is one of many in the community pushing Mayor Ben Walsh to have Syracuse officially recognize and celebrate Indigenous People’s Day on the second Monday of October.
“It’s a traumatic day for the past hundreds of years it’s been Columbus Day,” Deer said. “It’s a day that was celebrating genocide and on our point of view, it’s really sad to see that that’s how it’s viewed.”
Mayor Walsh is not planning on making any changes to the holiday yet but is open to more ideas from community members.