MUSCATINE — Communities proclaiming a day honoring the people that are native to the Americas has been gaining steam in recent years. Muscatine is one of those communities that today will recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“In the past, Americans have celebrated Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day with a nod to native peoples,” said Progress Muscatine member Travis Glynn, “but both of those holidays focus on explorers and settlers with native people in the background. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a chance to celebrate native people and mourn for the actions taken against them without being overshadowed by colonialism.”
Muscatine City Council adopted the proclamation signed Thursday by Mayor Diana Broderson. Though the day coincides with Columbus Day, Broderson had no comment about the two days sharing the second Monday in October.
“Muscatine welcomes all people, no matter the color of their skin, ethnicity, race or background,” she said at the Thursday council meeting. “We want to celebrate everyone.”
Glynn brought information and signatures to city council last year to show how important having a day recognizing native people is to Muscatine residents. At the meeting, councilman Santos Saucedo requested more information about what Indigenous Peoples’ Day is recognizing.
Saucedo said when the idea was first presented, he didn’t have much background know of the day.
Glynn sent more information to council since last year and Saucedo congratulated Glynn following the proclamation signing. Saucedo said he was happy for Glynn because he had worked hard and for almost 16 months to get an action made.
Muscatine’s proclamation does not make mention of Columbus Day where some cities have replaced honoring Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Glynn said leaving Columbus Day out of the proclamation was a strategic move.
“You shouldn’t have to reject Christopher Columbus as someone that was important to America to celebrate the history, contributions and dignity of indigenous people,” he said. “While most people that are ready to fully embrace Indigenous Peoples’ Day acknowledge how problematic Columbus was, some value his place in history despite his huge flaws.”