Goodbye, Columbus? Hello, Indigenous Peoples Day! | WYPR

Goodbye, Columbus? Hello, Indigenous Peoples Day!

Oct 12, 2020

The Columbus Monument, as it once stood in the Harbor East neighborhood of Baltimore. The statue, one of three in the city honoring Columbus, was pulled down by protesters and dragged into the harbor July 4.
Credit Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Today is the second Monday in October.  Since the 1930s, the day has been recognized as a federal holiday commemorating the first arrival of Christopher Columbus and crew to the Americas in 1492.  Last week, the Baltimore City Council passed a bill to rename Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day.   Mayor Jack Young has yet to sign the bill into law. 

If the mayor signs the bill or allows it to become law without his signature, Baltimore will join more than 130 cities and counties across nearly 35 states in creating an alternative to celebrating the life of Columbus, an explorer that Native Americans have long viewed as a brutal colonizer...

Laurence Bergreen is a bestselling biographer. His COLUMBUS: THE FOUR VOYAGES was published in 2011 by Viking Penguin.
Credit Photo by Sigrid Estrada

What do we know about Columbus, and what should we know to be able to put him in historical context?  The historian and author Laurence Bergreen is Tom's first guest.  He has written several books about explorers, including biographies of Marco Polo, Magellan, and Christopher Columbus, the subject of his 2011 book, Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504. Mr. Bergreen joins us on Zoom from New York…

Then, Tom welcomes Ashley Minner, a local artist and a professor and folklorist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Ms. Minner is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the largest native American tribe East of the Mississippi, and the ninth largest in the country.  A small community of Lumbee tribe members has lived in Baltimore since the 1940s.  She describes her work preserving the history of that community, and her advocacy for a heightened public awareness of the cultures of Indigenous People.  She joins us on Zoom.

Ashley Minner is a Baltimore visual artist, a professor at UMBC and a member of the Lumbee tribe.
Credit Jill Fannon for BMoreArt

Some upcoming events related to the Baltimore Lumbee Community and Indigenous Peoples Day are listed below:
UMD Indigenous Peoples' Day Panel (requires registration): 10/12/20, 6:30 PM;
Walter's Art Museum LIVE Artist's Talk: Indigenous Futures: 10/13/20, 5:30 PM;
MICA Lecture - Art & The Archive: What is the Archive?: 10/19/20, 7 PM;
Oral History Association Annual Meeting: Virtual Walking Tour of "The Reservation": 10/22/20, 1 PM.