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City to consider creation of Indigenous Peoples Day

Holiday to recognize contributions, history of Native Americans

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Later this month San Antonio city council members will vote on a proposal to establish Indigenous Peoples Day.

According to a statement from mayor Ivy Taylor, Indigenous Peoples Day "officially recognizes the importance of the many peoples and cultures that have played a role in shaping our history."

Antonio Diaz, spokesperson for the Texas Indigenous Council, has been calling for the creation of Indigenous Peoples Day for several years.

"That's what we've been asking for for years - for them to do the right thing," Diaz said. "We are the descendants of the original inhabitants of this land, and our history has been swept aside."

Members of the local Christopher Columbus Italian Society (CCIS) support the proposal, though they disagree with the characterization of Columbus' legacy by some Native American activists who are calling for the elimination of Columbus Day.

"Nobody wants to deny them a day or their time in the limelight here," CCIS Board Chairman Frank Monaco said. "We don't have any problem with them celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day. We do not want our day disrupted or taken the place of by Indigenous Peoples Day."

Since announcing the city's intentions the question of whether San Antonio would continue to celebrate Columbus Day has been raised. That led Mayor Ivy Taylor to take to Twitter to say "the proposal put forward to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day would not replace Christopher Columbus Day."

Though Columbus Day this year falls on the same day as the first celebrations of Indigenous Peoples Day, the contending sides agree that the two days should remain separate.

"We have no trouble with them having their own day," Monaco said.

"I think they should be separate we don't honor Christopher Columbus he is a villain. He should not be honored by any  people," Diaz said.

The city is expected to vote on the measure in three weeks.