The first documented observance of Columbus Day in the United States took place in New York City in 1792, on the 300th anniversary of Columbus’s landfall in the Western Hemisphere.
Generations of Indigenous people throughout the Western Hemisphere have protested Columbus Day. The movement to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day or Native American Day has gained momentum across the United States. In 2020, Washington, D.C. passed a resolution to change the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Universities and schools across the country are also observing the new commemoration.
In collaboration with Indigenous stakeholders, Greater Twin Cities United Way is committed to supporting local Indigenous communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the fourth wave of funding through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, we awarded $350,000 in Student and Family Empowerment Grants to provide support to community-based nonprofit organizations partnering with public schools to address student needs in St. Paul’s North End and Minneapolis’ Philips/Ventura Village neighborhoods. The funding focused on providing organizations the flexibility to get students and families what they needed most, including access to basic needs like food and rental support, academic supports, and culturally relevant mental health resources.