Senate rejects Columbus Day name change

Truman students stand together in Jefferson City during the Feb. 3 “Truman at the Capital” day. They met with legislators and alumni at the state capitol. Photo Credit: Submitted Photo

The TruView calendar listed that there would be a guest speaker for Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct. 12 — however, many members of the Truman State community were not aware of the Student Senate discussion about the holiday happening during an open session.

Cities and universities across the country have been making the transition from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day for several years, and the Student Senate moved to do the same in the Truman community during a Sept. 27 meeting. That resolution later failed during its second read a week later.

Carol Bennett, Assistant Dean of Multicultural Affairs, says Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a way to celebrate those people who settled in the Americas before explorers discovered the western world.

“With Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we’re celebrating people from before Columbus,” Bennett says. “A lot of times we think about how Europeans came here and created this place without understanding that American Indians shaped our political systems.”

Junior Christy Crouse, the diversity committee chair, says members of the Student Senate created a resolution for celebrating American Indians.

“There was a resolution written for observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day and it was for observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Columbus Day in order to recognize the interaction and relation between those two historical issues — the indigenous people and Columbus,” Crouse says. “We felt like we should put them at the same time in order to make that statement.” 

Crouse says the resolution called for recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day for many reasons, including that Truman and Thousand Hills State Park reside on old American Indian grounds. Crouse said because of this, Student Senate thought it was even more fitting to recognize that indigenous people enhance Truman’s diversity. Crouse said the first read on Sept. 27 went well, but took a turn for the worse during the second Senate read of the resolution Oct. 4.

“We first read it and people asked questions and clarified things and made friendly amendments to change certain wording, and it went well, and everyone was in favor of it,” Crouse says. “At the second read, people had problems with it and were attempting to make the point that one can’t just stop celebrating Columbus Day.”

To read more from Crouse on the student senate outcome check it out on Issuu.

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