Indigenous People’s Day should replace Columbus Day

Indigenous People’s Day should replace Columbus Day
By Teresa Puente

We should not celebrate a man who brought genocide and the destruction of native peoples. Christopher Columbus did not “discover” the Americas as people were living and thriving before he arrived.

Many local governments from Seattle to Minneapolis and Berkeley have stopped celebrating Columbus Day and instead celebrate indigenous people or Native Americans.

The United Nations held the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples last month in New York.

Here are five things to know about indigenous people.

1) There are around 370 million indigenous people in the world or around 5 percent of the global population.

2) There are more than 5,000 distinct indigenous groups in 90 countries.

3) In the United States there were 2.9 million people in 2010 who identified in the U.S. Census as American Indian or Alaska native, a growth of more than 450,000 since the 2000 census.

4) In Mexico, there are 62 indigenous groups or around 12 percent of the total population.

5) There are around 240 different indigenous groups in Brazil and more than 3 million people speak the Quechua language in Peru.

We should celebrate the contributions of native peoples and recognize their struggle for land, language and economic prosperity.

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