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MISSOULA, Mont. - As it stands, Columbus Day remains a legal holiday in Montana, however, one Missoula lawmaker is looking to shine some light on Indigenous Peoples‘ Day.

On Monday, Democratic Senator Shane Morigeau hosted a rally at the Missoula County Courthouse to draw support and attention to Senate Bill 146, which would strike "Columbus Day" and replace it with "Indigenous Peoples‘ Day."

Morigeau wasn’t alone in the call to action; People of all ages showed up, including high schooler Alishon Kelly who urged the community to recognize Montana’s history.

"Why do we celebrate Columbus? What are we celebrating? What are we talking about when we say Columbus? We need to stop white-washing our history for the sake of a more digestible and pretty version of our reality,” Kelly said.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Tribal Chairwoman Shelly Fyant also spoke at the event and said they will continue to respect the land, animals and all people, even those who disrespected her people.
"Today, we reach out our hands to begin the long-overdue process of mutual understanding, reconciliation and healing. Not just for today, but for all days moving forward,” Fyant said.
Moving forward, Morgieau hopes to unite the people of Montana with the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day because, he said, someone who exterminated people should not be celebrated.
"We want a day that represents all of us. A day that represents native people. It represents people who came from different countries, and just that rich, diverse, cultural heritage that so many of us have in this state,” Morigeau said.

This article has been updated. 

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