Cities and states across the US are abandoning Columbus Day — here’s the list

A student of Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America school for indigenous students holds incense during an event celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day in the Hollywood area on October 8, 2017 of Los Angeles, California.

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A student of Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America school for indigenous students holds incense during an event celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day in the Hollywood area on October 8, 2017 of Los Angeles, California.
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On October 9, the United States recognizes Columbus Day as a federal holiday. Established in 1937, the day celebrates Italian explorer Christopher Columbus’s docking on the Americas in 1492.

But this year, cities and states are replacing it with Indigenous Peoples Day, which commemorates the history of Native American people.

Advocates for abandoning Columbus Day recognize that Native Americans first inhabited the land that’s now the present-day US. They argue that Columbus did not discover the Americas, but instead started the European colonization of it.

Some estimates say that about 18 million Native Americans resided in what’s now the US before Columbus and the colonists came. “By 1800, that number had crashed to 900,000,” Reuters columnist Peter Apps wrote. By 1900, only 250,000 remained – this at a time when the population descended from Europeans was skyrocketing.”

As The New York Times notes, Americans have long questioned Columbus’s legacy, even before there was a holiday in his name. But it wasn’t until 1977 that the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas started to discuss swapping Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day.

South Dakota renamed Columbus Day as Native American Day in 1990. Two years later, Berkeley, California started recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day, and implemented related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. Earlier this month, a member of Washington, DC’s city council proposed a bill to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, Time reports.

The abandonment of Columbus Day follows an ongoing national conversation about the celebration of historical figures with controversial pasts. There have been calls from residents of several cities, from Baltimore to Los Angeles, to remove monuments of Confederate leaders.

States, cities, and universities that are celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day are below:

States:

    Hawaii Vermont Oregon Alaska South Dakota*

Cities:

    Los Angeles, California (and Los Angeles County) Berkeley, California Santa Cruz, California San Fernando, California Burbank, California Long Beach, California San Luis Obispo, California Watsonville, California Seattle, Washington Olympia, Washington Spokane, Washington Bainbridge Island, Washington Minneapolis, Minnesota Grand Rapids, Minnesota St. Paul, Minnesota Denver, Colorado Durango, Colorado Boulder, Colorado Phoenix, Arizona Ann Arbor, Michigan Traverse City, Michigan Alpena, Michigan East Lansing, Michigan Ypsilanti, Michigan Albuquerque, New Mexico Santa Fe, New Mexico Portland, Oregon Eugene, Oregon Newstead, New York Village of Lewiston, New York** Ithaca, New York Anadarko, Oklahoma Norman, Oklahoma Tulsa, Oklahoma Tahlequah, Oklahoma Carrboro, North Carolina Asheville, North Carolina Belfast, Maine Bangor, Maine Orono, Maine Brunswick, Maine** Portland, Maine Bexar County, Texas Cambridge, Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts Northampton, Massachusetts Harpers Ferry, West Virginia Lawrence, Kansas Davenport, Iowa Durham, New Hampshire Moscow, Idaho Oberlin, Ohio Salt Lake City, Utah Austin, Texas Nashville, Tennessee

*Celebrates Native American Day.

**Celebrates both Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day.