Lawmakers, tribe members say Monday's holiday should honor Indigenous peoples — instead of Columbus — across …
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Politicians and activists from across Cook County said those defending Columbus Day need to recognize the colonialism and violence associated with the explorer.
Lawmakers and activists gathered at Pottawattomie Park in Rogers Park Monday to demand the replacement of Columbus Day with a holiday to honor Indigenous peoples across the state instead.

Last week, the Cook County Board of Commissioners delayed a vote on replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day for the second time this year. The rally, organized by the Indigenous Peoples' Day Coalition, called for action from Cook County Board members who they claimed were "clinging to a racist past" — although one lawmaker acknowledged part of the board's objection was due to how some tribes treated descendants of their Black slaves.

The county is home to the ninth largest urban Indigenous community in the U.S., and is situated on the land of the Ojibwe, Odawa, Ho-Chunk and other tribes, the resolution to replace the holiday said.

"We need more votes, to be honest with you," said commissioner Brandon Johnson, the resolution's sponsor, at Monday's rally.

Johnson said he initially had enough support to pass the resolution, but the vote was delayed in May after pushback from commissioner Stanley Moore. Moore's great-great-grandfather was a Black Choctaw whose family had been slaves to the Choctaw Nation.

Moore said despite his ancestors' ties to the tribe, he other relatives of the freedmen have been denied recognition as a descendant, which prevents them from accessing benefits including education,…
Jason Beeferman
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