Los Angeles city council replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day
Los Angeles’ city council has just voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, showing a step in the right direction regarding the legacy of the disparaged discoverer.
Depending on who you ask, Columbus Day could either be considered a day of great pride or one of powerful disdain. The latter has grown in popularity in recent years and is encouraging some politicians to make some major changes.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Indigenous Peoples Day will take place on the second Monday in October and is meant to celebrate “indigenous, aboriginal and native people.”
Columbus Day was declared a federal holidays in 1937 to commemorate Christopher Columbus “discovering” the Caribbean. As history books now show, Columbus’s arrival resulted in the widespread genocide of the land’s native peoples.
“This gesture of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day is a very small step in apologizing and in making amends,” saidCouncilman Mike Bonin.
Bonin represents both citizens in his district and the Italian-American community, which puts him in a rather difficult position as that same community has been vocal against the replacement of Columbus Day.
“On behalf of the Italian community, we want to celebrate with you,” said Ann Potenza, president of Federated Italo-Americans of Southern California. “We just don’t want it to be at the expense of Columbus Day.”
It should be noted that Potenza said this in a room full of Native American activists who feel the holiday exchange is fair.
The day will still be a paid holiday for city workers, despite what they decide to call it. It may have taken centuries to make amends for Columbus’ actions and what they lead to – read: more genocide and slavery –, but it’s a good start.