Who Is Boycotting Columbus Day in Favor of 'Indigenous People's Day?'

Indigenous People's Day Celebrated by Seattle, Minneapolis
Christopher Columbus
Universal History Archive/Getty

updated 10/13/2014 AT 03:30 PM EDT

originally published 10/13/2014 AT 03:00 PM EDT

If you've been following social media at all today, you may have heard of Indigenous People's Day.

It's essentially an effort to rebrand the second Monday in October – taking the focus off what is traditionally a holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus and putting it on the people who were, you know, already inhabiting the area that he popularly gets credit for discovering.

Seattle and Minneapolis are the two most visible cities currently leading the charge: Last week, the Seattle City Council voted to rename the holiday in order to honor "the thriving cultures and values of Indigenous Peoples in our region," while Minneapolis approved a ruling in April "to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that Dakota, Ojibwa and other indigenous nations add to our city," according to CNN.

Columbus Day was established in 1892 by President Benjamin Harrison. Sixteen states (Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon among them) currently don't recognize the day as a public holiday, and South Dakota has celebrated Native American Day since 1990. Berkeley, California, is credited with being the first city in the U.S. to adopt Indigenous People's Day – it did so in 1992. (International Day of the World's Indigenous People is celebrated on August 9, following a 1994 United Nations General Assembly resolution.)



At least one group isn't thrilled about the rebranding. Since Christopher Columbus was Italian, many cities celebrate the holiday as a day of Italian-American pride, leading Lisa Marchese, a lawyer affiliated with the Sons of Italy in America Order, to tell The Seattle Times that "Italian-Americans are deeply offended."

"By this resolution, you say to all Italian-Americans that the city of Seattle no longer deems your heritage or your community worthy of recognition." Where do you stand? Let us know in the comments.

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