Monday, October 12, 2020

Goodbye Columbus — Hello Indigenous Peoples Day

 Indigenous Peoples Day honors the history of the continent's original inhabitants as well as the living culture of modern Native Americans. Library of Congress/Getty Images

Dave Roos

Accused of crimes ranging from slave-trading to genocide of indigenous peoples, Christopher Columbus has lost favor with many Americans. In 1977, just five years after Columbus Day became a national holiday in the U.S., participants at the United Nations International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas proposed Indigenous Peoples Day as a replacement.

It took some years to catch on. In 1990, South Dakota became the first state to ditch Columbus Day for a holiday honoring Native Americans, and in 1992, the famously progressive city of Berkeley, California became the first to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day in protest of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the New World.

Now, at least 14 states (plus Washington, D.C.) and more than 130 American cities have either dropped Columbus Day entirely or co-celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October. (Hawaii calls it Discoverers Day and honors the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii.)  Read more >>