October 8 looms. In South Dakota, it’s Native American Day. In 2016, Vermont’s governor proclaimed it Indigenous People’s Day. Oregon avoided Columbus Day altogether until last year, when it made Indigenous People’s Day official. A long list of cities have done the same.
Here in St. Louis, the bronze Christopher Columbus in Tower Grove Park stands waiting, inscrutable, as tension mounts: Will graffiti appear again, marring the statue to protest its presence? Meanwhile, a commission of stakeholders (Native Americans and Italian Americans, historians and artists) has begun meeting regularly to consider the statue’s fate—and forge enough consensus to make recommendations.