WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- A debate cycling through the country has arrived in Western New York.
At a school board meeting in Williamsville Tuesday, Williamsville School Board officials discussed changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day, due to modern views on Christopher Columbus and his actions toward Native Americans.
Yet those who support the holiday as a celebration of the nation's rich Italian culture were against the idea of entirely replacing the day.
2 On Your Side spoke with those on both sides of the argument after the meeting Tuesday.
"Speaking with some folks from the Italian-American community, it wasn't so much about Columbus itself, but the heritage," said Pete Hill, Native American Community Services of Erie and Niagara Counties Health and Wellness Director. "So I think it would be a good solution to look at, renaming it Italian Heritage day. But I think it's still important that we have conversations about why there's such a need for change in the first place."
Donald Alessi the immediate past president of the Federation of Italian-American Societies of Western New York, said he also believes that Native American culture should be celebrated, but he thinks it should not take the place of Columbus Day.
""They should celebrate their heritage and culture. And we are totally in favor of that. And we would join with them. We would join with them in that celebration. We're just saying, don't do it on Columbus Day," he said.