SUNY Oswego student emphasizes the importance of name change from Christopher Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

OSWEGO, N.Y. — A SUNY Oswego student discusses why renaming the holiday from Christopher Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day is important. 

“It’s nice when you get recognition for the people that are misunderstood,” SUNY Oswego student Chelsea Maldonaldo says as she talks about the recognition in Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

Renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a way to honor victims of American Colonization. One of the first cities to adopt this change was Berkley, California. Other cities and states like New York State followed suit. 

“I like that certain states changed the name from Columbus Day to Indigeneous peoples’ day. I like to celebrate Indigenous peoples’ day as that for all tribes across America,” Chelsea Maldonaldo says. 

Chelsea is from the Nahua Tribe. Her tribe consists of many different cultural practices, including a sweat lodge ceremony. 

“For an hour, you’re in a room with a bunch of other people and there’s hot rocks in the middle. It’s supposed to be a cleansing of your mind, and your soul, and things about ego for example,” Maldonaldo said.

Chelsea mentions that this sacred practice typically has a misconception surrounding spirituality. 

“I think people have a misconception of spirituality and being indigenous because there’s things that Americans, for example…they like to meditate and all and that’s good for whoever does it, but this, for example being indigenous… this is our church per say, ” Maldonaldo said. 

Chelsea embraces her own heritage by also wearing traditional attire. All of which has a symbolic meaning. 

For the future she hopes to see more inclusion for indigenous people all around.

“Just showing support and love like you know Indigenous peoples’ day is coming up… If you know someone that is Indigenous be like “Hey, glad it’s your day today!” You know something like that, that would be nice,” Maldonaldo said.