Since the 1992 Columbus Day holiday that marked 500 years since the Genoese sailor first encountered Native Americans in the Caribbean, indigenous peoples vocally and publicly opposed the celebration of Columbus Day as a relic of colonialism. As an alternative, they organized measures to rename the commemoration “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” and to recognize the resilience of Native American peoples on that day.
To mark Columbus Day 2014, Native American students at the University of New Mexico organized a tour of the campus that highlighted the presence of indigenous peoples’ claims to areas around the campus and the state. Their goal was to challenge the commemoration of Columbus’ actions and instead emphasize his historical initiation of violent colonialism and genocide. In doing so, participants highlighted centuries of ongoing Native American resistance against policies and programs that sought to erase their histories and cultural identities.