Students want to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day

Students decide it is time to change name of Columbus Day.

North promotes inclusivity, and for the past three years, students have made the administration prove that the inclusive campaign is more than empty words.
The students are doing this with a petition to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.
“Some of the students were caught by the realities of Christopher Columbus’ actions,” said social studies teacher Roxanne Bristow. “They instead wanted to honor the indigenous people that were affected. The students are very passionate about equality and equity, especially toward those oppressed by Columbus.”
Past petitions were successful and made it to the School Board. The recent petition is to convince the administrative council and is a cooperative effort between both North and Central.
“Changing the name started as a long-term project three years ago. This year it’s a new petition still in its early stages, so there’s really no set number of how many signatures they need. We just want as many as we can get,” Bristow said.
The Social Studies Honor Society organized this petition. Bristow is the supervising teacher, and students Castor Basa, Zachary Chamberlain, Erin Fielder, Brooke Meadowfield, Marina Obaid, and Jovan Perez made the petition and distributed posters around the school.
“All of us are working to create a more positive environment that’s more reflective of our school,” said junior Marina Obaid.
The students involved are driving for action to make this change and celebrate the good parts of America and not honor the bad.
“America has a very rich history, and our goals as a country have changed over time,” Obaid said. “In the past we celebrated everything in American history, but as we become more aware, we can celebrate without the bad parts.”
The students are using this petition to try and make a positive impact in the school and community by making people think not only about indigenous tribes, but also about why the United States celebrates Columbus Day.
“We want people to think about Columbus more,” Obaid said. “In kindergarten, we’re taught certain ways about the explorers from Europe, but in high school, especially junior year where we take a U.S. History class, we become more aware about what he did.”
This change will show the rest of the community how North is an inclusive and diverse school and that the teachers are willing to support students during their time in the school.
“Teachers are really here to foster student advocacy and to help them succeed not just in school, but in life as well,” Bristow said. “Making sure that students can use their voice and advocate for change is more important to me than my personal beliefs about Columbus.”