Skip to main content

Anti-Columbus Natives Rally for ABQ’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Albuquerque was one of many cities in the U.S. to proclaim the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Albuquerque was one of many cities in the U.S. to proclaim the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day, basically shunning the traditional Columbus Day celebration. A rally, organized by a local group called The Red Nation, was held in downtown Albuquerque this past Monday and over 600 supporters took to the streets to draw recognition to the proclamation that was signed by Council President Rey Garduno just five days before.

The people marched to the sound of drum beats while stopping at intervals to hear invited speakers who spoke about not only for the abolishment of Columbus Day, but also to talk about the issues facing Native Americans in New Mexico’s largest city – including poverty, police brutality, over representation of Native people in the city’s courts and joblessness.

The following are reactions from those at the march:

“I was surprised by the proclamation,” said Glenabah Martinez, who is Taos Pueblo and Navajo. “I’m hoping that this is a first step towards other types of policy changes in the city of Albuquerque, as well as the state of New Mexico. It’s happened in other parts of the Western Hemisphere including Guatemala City, but this is the first time I’ve seen a proclamation from the city of Albuquerque.”

Scroll to Continue

Read More

“Columbus is a mascot for Manifest Destiny,” said Tom Frenchman, a Lenape from Oklahoma who resides in Albuquerque. It’s long overdue that we get rid of this holiday. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. It’s not a real holiday. It’s just something Congress passed when they were not doing anything else, I guess. I’m proud to say there’s no more Columbus Day here in Albuquerque.”

“I would like to compliment City Council President Rey Garduno for putting this resolution before the City Council and [the council president] for signing the proclamation,” said Boye Ladd from the Ho-Chunk and Zuni tribes. “It’s clear that the Native people were the original inhabitants of this land. We were here far before 1492, before Columbus came. A lot of people are holding signs that say ‘Abolish Columbus Day’ and I agree with that.”

“I definitely think it’s a step forward. When looking at all the issues that are happening here in the Albuquerque area, especially when it comes to police brutality, it comes from a lack of cultural sensitivity training. You’re only a product of your teaching. We need to have better training of our police officers here so they can have a better understanding of our culture,” said Ladd, known across Indian country as a champion powwow fancy dancer, hoop dancer and MC.

“There’s a gap between the Albuquerque police and poor people and indigenous people of this land. We unite with millions of people across the Western Hemisphere to abolish Columbus Day,” said Nick Estes, from the Lower Brule Sioux tribe who is a doctoral student at the University of New Mexico.

“In order to understand present day oppression you have to understand what happened in the past,” said Martinez, a professor within the University of New Mexico’s College of Education. “I’m not talking about the textbook history. I’m talking about history from our oral traditions and the history that comes from Native scholarship. It’s about decolonizing the mind.”