Red Wing, not Mpls, is first MN city to scrap Columbus Day

Red Wing no longer recognizes Columbus at all. Minneapolis didn't go quite as far.

Red Wing no longer recognizes Columbus at all. Minneapolis didn't go quite as far.

The Minneapolis City Council recently approved a resolution renaming Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day on all officials city communication.

Minneapolis hasn't scrapped Columbus Day altogether, though. Going forward, the city will jointly recognize Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October, as that allows the city to avoid the trouble of having to rewrite city contracts that make specific reference to the controversial federal holiday.

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That said, on Monday, the city of Red Wing became the first in the state to officially do away with Columbus Day altogether, as the resolution approved by the City Council there redesignates the holiday as Chief Red Wing Day.

Red Wing's push to scrap Columbus Day was largely the work of Scott Bender, a 50-year-old high school history and social studies teacher who serves on the city's Human Rights Commission.

Earlier this year, Bender put together a resolution that would've renamed Columbus Day as First Peoples Day, but the City Council opted for Chief Red Wing Day, citing the fact the town is named after the Sioux chief.

"We have our Prairie Island Indian Community whose tribal council was dead set that if it changed it should be Chief Red Wing Day and the City Council voted to do that," Bender tells us. "It's pretty specific to Red Wing, but in the end I'm pleased they had the guts to go the whole way with it. Red Wing is the first city in the state to vote not to observe [Columbus Day] locally."

Though the Red Wing City Council considered modifying Bender's proposal to model it after the sort of joint observance that will be happening in Minneapolis, they decided to do away with it altogether after Mayor Daniel Bender spoke out forcefully against Christopher Columbus during Monday's meeting.

"From what I've read about Columbus I don't understand why we're celebrating Christopher Columbus day, and I think redesignating is the right move and I'm glad to hear the council is considering that," the mayor said.

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