More cities are celebrating Indigenous People's Day instead of Christopher Columbus Day.


Passing around a cluster of burning sage, a group of demonstrators wafted the smoke over their heads outside of the Metro Nashville courthouse and city hall Tuesday evening.

The act, a "smudging," or "blessing," preceded the drum music that played from the circle gathered in front of the building.

Some descendants of America's native population themselves, they held signs reminding passersby of the bloodshed of their ancestors and calling for a day to recognize that in Nashville.

"Our country was stolen but we are still here," one sign read. "No Columbus Day! (Yes Indigenous) Peoples Day."

Following the introduction of a resolution by District 6 council member Brett Withers, Metro council will vote in two weeks on whether to pass the measure "declaring the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day in the City of Nashville."

Such a holiday has historically been unofficially celebrated as Christopher Columbus Day, marking his landing in the Americas Oct. 12, 1492.

Tuesday was the first time the group demonstrated outside the Metro building, said Albert Bender, who organized the event with the local American Indian Coalition.

Bender said the group will return Oct. 3 to hold a similar demonstration before the council meeting, when the resolution is scheduled to be up for a vote.

He said from what he has been told, "there's a lot of support for it within the Metro council."

"They've got a couple weeks to think about things," Bender said.

Reach Natalie Allison at Follow her on Twitter at @natalie_allison.

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