Former chief of the Penobscot Nation Barry Dana planned to host a gathering in Skowhegan, Maine, on Monday, Oct. 13—traditionally known as Columbus Day—to shift the focus away from what Native Americans see as the advent of slavery and genocide for the people who were here when Columbus arrived. Dana called for the day to be renamed International Indigenous Peoples Day.

Assistant Professor of History Daniel Tortora said Skowhegan and other communities that have considered changing Columbus Day seem to be trying to move the focus to Native American culture and its contributions to society that might have been overlooked in the past.

“I think they are questioning what has been a long-standing tradition, but one that often overlooks the consequences of European settlement and the hardships the Indians then faced as a result of colonization,” Tortora said.