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Saturday, April 20, 2024

ASM passes legislation to recognize Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day

The Associate Students of Madison Student Council passed legislation Wednesday to recognize the second Monday of each October as Indigenous Peoples Day throughout campus.

Although UW-Madison does not formally recognize Columbus Day as a holiday, the resolution called on the Faculty Senate and Chancellor Rebecca Blank to officially name the date Indigenous Peoples Day to acknowledge the Native American community on campus and throughout Dane County.

UW-Madison is located on sacred Ho Chunk land. It holds Historic Native American sites, including one of the oldest trees in Dane County on Observatory Hill. Five effigy burial mounds also sit on the hill. Also, Camp Randall held U.S troops who forced indigenous people west of the Mississippi River during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.

By formally recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day over Christopher Columbus Day, ASM said they believe UW-Madison can better celebrate Native American heritage, especially for students who feel Columbus was an oppressive leader during early colonization in the U.S.

Director of University Communications John Lucas said UW-Madison does not typically declare official days of recognition, which follows campus guidelines put forth by the Board of Regents.

“In these cases, we suggest shared governance partners, such as ASM, develop programming to advance educational opportunities for all students,” Lucas said.

Several universities and cities in the U.S. already recognize Indigenous Peoples Day as a way to honor the Native American community and celebrate historical significance and cultural difference.

“We recognize the important role of native and indigenous persons in the history of the country, as well as this campus in particular,” Lucas said.

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