PROVIDENCE, R.I. – What was Christopher Columbus Day is slowly becoming Indigenous People’s Day, with Brown University the most recent to make it official this week.
Though Brown already changed the holiday to Fall Weekend in 2009, university faculty opted to change it again on Tuesday to Indigenous People’s Day, following school like the University of Oklahoma and University of Alaska Southeast to make the change, USA Today College reports.
But a new poll released by the news site shows the vast majority of college students nationwide think it’s a dumb idea.
“Brown University has voted to change the name of its Fall Weekend – still known by many as Columbus Day – to Indigenous People’s Day. Do you approve?” USA Today College asked in an online poll of 2,111 U.S. college students on Feb. 3 and 4.
A mere 25 percent said “yes,” while 71 percent said “no” and 4 percent answered “other.”
Regardless of what students think, however, Brown faculty are quite proud of themselves.
“In discussions prior to the vote, faculty expressed their support for the name change as an opportunity to show support for Native Americans on our campus and beyond, and to celebrate Native American culture and history,” Brown evolutionary biology professor Thomas Roberts said in a statement.
The New York Times reports the student group Native Americans at Brown suggested the change to “recognize the contributions of Indigenous People/Native Americans to our community and our culture and foster a more inclusive community.”
Numerous other schools including Tufts University, Syracuse University, Ohio State University and the University of Utah are also currently considering changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, USA Today reports.
The movement to rename Columbus Day centers on criticisms about his treatment of Native Americans, and started more than 20 years ago.
From the Times:
Several cities and states across the United States have already renamed the holiday, including Berkeley, Calif., which had its first Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992. (Although they seem to agree with one another on the sentiment, they don’t agree on the apostrophe. Brown said it would celebrate Indigenous People’s Day; Minneapolis celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day; while Seattle celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day.)
In Hawaii, the holiday is known as Discoverers’ Day, and it’s Native Americans’ Day in South Dakota. Alaska renamed it Indigenous Peoples Day in 2015, while Washington State does not recognize Columbus Day as a legal holiday.