BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For decades, America has observed the second Monday of October as Columbus Day. But more recently - because of the controversial history surrounding Christopher Columbus and his treatment of indigenous people - October 12 has become known to many as Indigenous People's Day.
Across the nation, several Columbus statues have been targeted for destruction. And here in Buffalo, there's an effort underway to rename Columbus Park to its original name: Prospect Park.
According to the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, when the Columbus statue was installed in the 50's, there was a request to rename the park after the statue.
But in July, the statue was removed by the city and the Federation of Italian American Societies of WNY. The conservancy and other groups are asking the park go back to its original name of Prospect Park.
The Columbus statue has been removed as of July 10, and is in storage until further relocation. It's going to be replaced by a statue of an Italian immigrant family.
"That area, for 100 years, was the gateway to Buffalo's historic little Italy from the 1880's to about the 1980's. So we chose the Italian immigrant family," said Peter LoJacono,
President of the Federation of Italian American Societies of WNY. "We wanted to give a tribute to them because those are the people who really sacrificed, and who struggled and were able to basically pave the way for us to make it better for us."
The bronze statue and what it stands for would be something relatable to many immigrants.
"Overcoming the language barrier, overcoming the - whether it's a racial struggle or a culture struggle, a religious struggle, the language, whatever it is," said LoJacono.
A public hearing on the request to rename Columbus Park as "Prospect Park" will take place before the Buffalo Common Council on November 4.