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The Daily Tar Heel

Carrboro to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day

The town of Carrboro is getting the message out a different way: by celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen adopted a resolution October 6 to recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Board of Aldermen member Michelle Johnson introduced the resolution after resident Steve Dear presented the idea last year.

“I didn’t want another year to pass by without us passing a resolution acknowledging our history and the truth about it,” Johnson said.

The push for adopting the resolution stems from the idea that celebrating Columbus’ discovery of America ignores the reality of the event.

Hertel said it is a big step forward to have Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognized.

“The only day that people talk about indigenous people, broadly speaking, is on Columbus Day,” she said. “It’s talked about in a space that is challenging to begin with.”

Part of the resolution encourages local schools to emphasize the history of these populations.

Johnson said she hopes to partner with the school system to make this a reality.

Tribes have lived in Orange County in the past, and today the Occaneechi tribe is located in Hillsborough.

“I think one impact of this myth that we’ve been told about Columbus is that we think indigenous people are not around us,” Johnson said.

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said Chapel Hill agrees with Carrboro on the issue.

“I expect that there will be much support for reframing the day and recognizing indigenous peoples,” he said.

The resolution was passed too recently to implement celebratory measures Monday, but recognition for Indigenous Peoples’ Day is in the works for next year.

“Over the course of the next year, we can work with the other municipalities and the Occaneechi tribe and other indigenous people to decide if folks want something more than a resolution,” Johnson said.


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