As a nation, we refuse to really face the history of genocide, racism, and subjugation that arrived with Europeans half a millennium ago, says Antonio Diaz, who heads the Texas Indigenous Council. Case in point: Columbus Day. Diaz is one of many across the country pushing for us to collectively rethink Columbus Day, the national holiday that each year pays homage to a monstrous legacy, and what it represents — papal decrees that smiled upon the European plundering of "savages" in the New World, colonization and cultural destruction of native peoples, and turning indigenous peoples, as Diaz aptly puts it, into "refugees in their own ancestral homelands."
Several movements have reclaimed the holiday, pushing local and state officials across the country to instead recognize “Indigenous Peoples Rights Day.” South Dakota now celebrates “Native America Day”; Berkley, along with several other California cities honor “Indigenous Peoples Day.” Diaz wants the same thing for San Antonio, and for the second year in a row he's pushed for a resolution out of City Hall recognizing October 12 as “Indigenous Peoples Rights Day.”
“We have to define ourselves as indigenous people, we've had over 400 years of letting other people define us,” he says. “We need to step up and proclaim our heritage, and stop honoring the legacy of this monster.”
Diaz and others plan to rally
at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday October 15 at Columbus Park (corner of W. Martin and San Saba), and march through downtown to the old courthouse steps at 3:30 p.m.