Columbus Day vs. Indigenous Peoples’ Day

In 1492, Columbus "discovered" the Americas... where millions of people already lived. Here’s why some cities and states are replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Columbus enslaved, colonized, mutilated and massacred thousands of Indigenous People in the Americas

D.C. Councilmember David Grosso urged his colleagues to vote for this emergency so that the public can immediately begin to acknowledge the negative historic and continuing impacts of European colonization on the Indigenous people of the Americas and reaffirm the District of Columbia’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion for all. But for the change to become permanent, it requires Congressional approval.

The argument: Italian explorer Christopher Columbus led to the oppression of native people of the Americas when Europeans arrived. But some still defend Columbus Day celebrations — particularly in the Italian American community. The National Italian American Foundation opposed the new legislation in D.C. “We believe to repeal Columbus Day as a federal holiday, which is celebrated by over 20 million Italian Americans, only to replace it by another holiday celebrated by another ethnic group, would be culturally insensitive,” tweeted Anthony Morales, Tribal chief Red Blood of the Gabrielino/Tongva of San Gabriel, CA. Recognizing the day as Indigenous People day is an opportunity to educate the youth, the broader community about the positive and enduring contribution of indigenous people as well as the ongoing challenges faced by Native Americans. It’s needed to honor the countries ancestors. Time to celebrate the day for the indigenous people no one discovered.

Columbus enslaved, colonized, mutilated and massacred thousands of Indigenous People in the Americas. Cities and states are legislating to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. On Oct. 8, the Washington, D.C. council passed emergency legislation to rename the federal holiday. The facts about Columbus — who actually explored the Central and South American coasts — have been mixed-up over the years. At least 8 states and 130 cities and towns have renamed the holiday based on data from the NYT.