NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the last few Columbus Day weekends there have been quiet gatherings in Columbus Circle of people with indigenous American ancestry honoring their part of the story when the old and new worlds met face to face.

As 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported, among those who gathered on Sunday was Luis Ramos, who said so few of those stories are told.

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“Almost like you put it away, don’t talk about it because of the atrocities that occurred,” Ramos, who is of Puerto Rican Taino ancestry, said. “But now we are in a new age where indigenous people need to rise up, not in a violent way but in an educational way and also to show our traditions.”

Among those traditions, offering tobacco at a site in Isham Park in upper Manhattan where evidence of Lenape Native Americans was recently found.

“According to tradition, the spirits they really enjoy tobacco,” Ramos explained.

Workers digging in the park discovered shells that Ramos believes could have been used as prayer offerings.

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“What I know about shell middens is those are prayer offerings,” he said. “It shows that there was a settlement there. So I guess if they dig further they’ll probably find pottery.”

The Parks Department’s historic preservation division is taking a closer look at the discovery, Rincon reported.

Monday’s tobacco offering ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. in Isham Park.

Ramos added that honoring indigenous heritage on Columbus Day shouldn’t take anything way from Italian-Americans who honor theirs.

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