A growing number of cities are abolishing the traditional Columbus Day holiday on the second Monday of October and replacing it with a day that celebrates the millions of people who were already living here when Christopher Columbus arrived, the Washington Post reported, adding that the recast holiday, known as Indigenous Peoples Day, will take place in at least nine cities across the United Statesincluding Albuquerque, New Mexico, Portland, Oregon, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
“For the Native community here, Indigenous Peoples Day means a lot,” Nick Estes of Albuquerque, who is involved with planning the city’s Indigenous Peoples celebration, was quoted by the Post. “We actually have something. We understand it’s just a proclamation, but at the same time, we also understand this is the beginning of something greater.”
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Columbus Day supporters argue that the explorer symbolizes the beginning of cultural exchange between Europe and the Americas. But now, according to the Post, supporters of the holiday, such as Anna Vann — a member of the Sons of Italy’s Denver Lodge — have been unable to ignore the varying opinions on the holiday.
“It’s been a struggle to even get people to come and attend the parades as spectators,” Vann was quoted in the article. “It’s a celebration of when the Europeans came over and started their lives here. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for this history.”
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The holiday’s new designation follows a decades-long push by Native American activists in dozens of cities across the country to abolish Columbus Day, and they have had mixed but increasingly successful results, the Post report claimed.
The next community to consider the change is Oklahoma City, where local leaders are scheduled this week to vote, according to NBC affiliate KFOR, on a bill implementing Indigenous Peoples Day.