A state senator wants to add Indigenous Peoples Day to the official Nevada calendar and send Christopher Columbus sailing off into the sunset.
Democratic Sen. Tick Segerblom of Las Vegas has proposed legislation to designate the second Monday in October as a commemorative day honoring Native Americans, their culture and achievements. His bill draft also would stop recognizing Columbus Day, which falls on the same Monday, because of Columbus’ mistreatment of the people he encountered when he discovered North America.
“It is important to look at Christopher Columbus as a symbol of how Native Americans have been treated, Segerblom said, “and when you look at how he did treat indigenous people it really is outrageous.”
Indigenous Peoples Day would not be an official state holiday, with schools and government offices closed, but would be a day of observance, just as Columbus Day is now.
Assisting Segerblom in his efforts is Las Vegas Paiute member and tribal activist Fawn Douglas. She organzied protests at UNLV against Columbus Day and launched a petition drive at change.org on behalf of Indigenous Peoples Day.
Columbus Day “shouldn’t be celebrated,” Douglas said. “This man shouldn’t be celebrated. He was a rapist; he was a murderer. And I don’t think Italian-Americans would be proud of him if they really truly knew the history.”
Segerblom praised College of Southern Nevada history Professor Sondra Cosgrove for organizing a recent forum and strategy session in support of his legislation.
“She understands that this is a teachable moment, not just for Native Americans but for all Nevadans,” Segerblom said.
Sen. Tick Segerblom, seeks to honor Native Americans; Fawn Douglas, Las Vegas Paiute and tribal activist