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New ideas for Columbus Day discussed in Bemidji

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Shared Vision, Bemidji’s council on race relations, discussed controversial plans to honor American Indians on Columbus Day at its meeting Tuesday.

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Several fiery letters to the editor in opposition to changing Columbus Day have run in the Bemidji Pioneer during recent weeks, letters which Shared Vision members referenced during the discussion.

However, Shared Vision’s ultimate goal may not necessarily be to change Columbus Day to something else. Rather, the group’s focus could be on doing something in conjunction with Columbus Day to educate the Bemidji public about American Indian heritage and the history of Bemidji before it officially became a city in 1895, Red Lake Nation spokesperson Michael Meuers said.

“That’s one thing that all the letters to the editor missed,” Meuers said. “This is about education. People who are giving Columbus credit for anything don’t understand or don’t know the history of Columbus or the Spaniards that followed him or the English that followed them or the Americans that followed them.”

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