Do you celebrate Indigenous People's Day? That is the holiday that was "formerly known as Columbus Day" in Berkeley. In the rest of the U.S., it still is Columbus Day.

In 1992, the Berkeley City Council voted to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day after listening to much criticism of the way Christopher Columbus mistreated the native people he met in the New World. The Berkeley City Council also voted to ban the word "Indian", as well as the term "native American". The council ruled that only "indigenous person/people" was to be used in Berkeley by city government, including public schools. Of course, no actual Indians were invited by the Berkeley City Council to testify or to give their opinion of this proposed name change.

One month later, the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League announced that they were giving Berkeley their "Insensitivity Award". "Columbus Day is an important holiday for all Italian Americans. The Indians got a raw deal, but we didn't do it!" said Mario di Parma, a spokesman for the group. He added: "The Berkeley City Council would never repeal St. Patrick's Day, and they didn't repeal Martin Luther King Day after they found out that King got his doctorate degree by plagiarism!"

Embarrassed by the award, the Berkeley City Council quickly reserved its position and changed the name of the holiday back to Columbus Day.

But that was not the end of this story. Local Indians showed up at the next Berkeley City Council meeting. John Whitefeather told the Berkeley Council: "We didn't ask you to change the name of this holiday, but now that you have given it to us, you can't take it back. That would make you Indigenous People givers." ("Indigenous People giver" now the politically correct term in Berkeley for "Indian giver.")

A compromise was reached, and so now the holiday is officially "Indigenous Peoples - Columbus Day" (note the hyphen) but only in Berkeley. On city parking meters, it still says Indigenous People's Day on the list of free parking days.

So remember, when in Berkeley, its not Indian Summer. Its Indigenous People's Summer. Its not Indian pudding. Its Indigenous People pudding. And don't be an Indigenous People giver!

For additional information on this subject, go to Indigenous People's Day Protesters Demand that the University of California Leave North America (The Board of Regents of the University of California has decided not to leave North America.)

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