SGA to recognize Indigenous’ Peoples Day

John Kurecki, Features Reporter

The Student Government Association (SGA) has voted to no longer recognize Columbus Day, and instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  The body hopes to have the Campus Senate approve the measure campus-wide and then to take the issue to the Board of Trustees.

As it stands, students will likely notice no difference in policy. SGA  External Vice President Duane Malany, the sponsor of the resolution, called for suspension of SGA’s usual procedures and an immediate vote on the issue.  The SGA does not generally vote on resolutions at their first reading, but since the actual date is not far off, it was deemed important to move quickly.

Malany plans to set up an event on the date for raise awareness to the cause.  He also expressed his hope to change the campus, and expects SGA to “petition the campus senate to follow our lead and implement this campus wide.”

Currently no University of Illinois organizations outside of the SGA have followed suit, but the eventual goal is to spread the change throughout all of the campuses.  “The discussion should start here so we can move forward,” Malany said.  He also made clear that he did not intend to “disband” Columbus Day for those who have cultural ties to it.

The SGA is not the first body to recognize indigenous people in favor of Christopher Columbus.  In 1989, the South Dakota legislature approved the change the first state to do so.  Since then a few other entities have changed, ranging from cities such as Seattle to small college campuses.