Brainerd City Council: Council halts discussion on changing name of Columbus Day
Talk of changing the name of Columbus Day in Brainerd has been pulled off the table, at least for now. At the Brainerd City Council meeting Monday, the group agreed to put off the discussion, perhaps to again address it next year. It was first br...
Talk of changing the name of Columbus Day in Brainerd has been pulled off the table, at least for now.
At the Brainerd City Council meeting Monday, the group agreed to put off the discussion, perhaps to again address it next year.
It was first brought forward by city council member Chip Borkenhagen to change Columbus Day to "Native Peoples' Day."
After discussion, the council originally tabled the idea two weeks ago to further investigate the idea of the name change to either "Native Peoples' Day" or to a combination of "Columbus Day/Native Peoples' Day."
But in a recent memo sent to fellow council members, Borkenhagen requested to pull his idea off the table.
"Clearly our community is not ready to move forward to this on this intellectual level," the memo read. "Clearly, the vocal minority has moaned loud enough to foul the air to the degree that I don't wish to pursue it. We don't need to be distracted to the dimension this seems to be whilst grappling with the financial challenges we are facing now."
Borkenhagen continued in his memo that if Columbus were alive today, and it was discovered he had done the "atrocities that he did in fact do, he would be tried as a terrorist and war criminal."
In a brief statement at Monday's meeting, Borkenhagen said many residents aren't aware of the history and "why it's important and why it would make a difference" to change the holiday name.
There was very little talk at Monday's meeting among council members.
City council member Gary Scheeler did thank Borkenhagen for bringing the idea forward and said the group had some good discussion.
The idea of changing the name of Columbus Day follows suit with cities like Red Wing and Minneapolis, both of which made similar changes.
The Minneapolis City Council voted earlier this year to use "Indigenous Peoples Day" instead of Columbus Day on all city communications, although it will continue to recognize Columbus Day for legal purposes.
The city of Red Wing decided to rename Columbus Day as "Chief Red Wing Day."
In Bemidji, Shared Vision, also known as the Bemidji Area Race Relations Council, discussed in May the idea of changing the day to "Indigenous Peoples Day," but no formal actions have been taken by the Bemidji City Council.