Christopher Columbus could use a new PR campaign.
Far from the elementary school stories of the famous explorer discovering the New World, many Americans are conflicted supporting Columbus Day after learning about the suppression of Native American peoples.
79 percent of students surveyed support replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day, according to a new poll from College Pulse, a data and survey analytics company.
Brands and organizations seem to be acknowledging this trend and embracing Indigenous Peoples’ Day to honor the tribes that populated the frontier of America.
We looked at campaigns acknowledging both holidays today, and some taking the next step and promising action to support Native Americans.
Pro-Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Never one to be a shrinking violet, the ACLU led the charge to promote a blunt message regarding its stance on Indigenous People’s Day.
Today, we honor the culture, heritage, and resilience of our Native American communities.
Happy Indigenous People's Day. pic.twitter.com/6gvOYv5IqV
— ACLU (@ACLU) October 12, 2020
The Writers’ Guild of America West took the day to debut a letter, written by the members of WGAW’s Native American & Indigenous Writers Committee (NAIWC), to address Hollywood’s lack of equitable representation and pervasive misrepresentation of Native American & Indigenous Peoples.
"Across film and television we continue to see Native and Indigenous stories told by non-native writers who perpetuate inaccurate and racist representations." Read WGAW's Native American & Indigenous Writers Committee's letter to Hollywood. https://t.co/T3EztlrtvE
— Writers Guild of America West (@WGAWest) October 12, 2020
The Texas Observer took the day to announce a newsroom initiative promoting more coverage of the Native American community—the introduction of the Indigenous Affairs desk.
For whatever reason, news organizations in Texas don’t report on Indigenous communities. The @TexasObserver intends to be different: we're launching an Indigenous Affairs desk because every day is #IndigenousPeoplesDay. https://t.co/E9Kw8cNoj3
— Tristan Ahtone (@Tahtone) October 12, 2020
Patagonia, known for its work with the environmental community, produced and shared a video of The Gwich’in tribe, who have been fighting for decades to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“I'm not an activist, I’m not an environmentalist. I’m just trying to protect my children’s birthright." - Bernadette Demientieff of @OurArcticRefuge https://t.co/li4aScLGPC#ProtectTheArctic #IndigenousPeoplesDay
— Patagonia (@patagonia) October 12, 2020
Even Vogue found a way to weigh in, featuring a fashionable take on the holiday, showcasing Indigenous brands.
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) October 12, 2020
Columbus Day Still Rings True—for Some
It’s definitely noticeable that many brands shied away from commenting on Columbus Day, what may now be deemed a controversial holiday, as campaigns were few and far between.
The First Lady, Melania Trump, shared a White House proclamation about the greatness of Columbus Day.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 12, 2020
As many Italian-Americans see Columbus Day as an Italian holiday, the National Italian American Foundation shared history regarding the genesis of the celebration.
This is an important & historic holiday for #ItalianAmericans, the 5th largest ethnic group in the US. When #ColumbusDay became a federal holiday in 1937 it provided a sense of dignity in light of the hostility and discrimination many Italian immigrants & Italian Americans faced. pic.twitter.com/lQ3OOkStLF
— NIAF (@niaforg) October 12, 2020
The History Channel took the opportunity to teach a lesson about the arrival of Christopher Columbus, as well as the importance of Native Americans inhabited here.
Years before Christopher Columbus stepped foot on what would come to be known as the Americas, the expansive territory was inhabited by Native Americans. #IndigenousPeoplesDay #ColumbusDay https://t.co/awsVXCfkfZ
— HISTORY (@HISTORY) October 12, 2020
And for some, well, they chose to take the middle road, and let the public decide. This realtor decided to promote Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
— Sibbet Realty (@SibbetRealty) October 12, 2020
Nicole Schuman is a reporter for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal