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Los Angeles Changes Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day

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City Hall in Los Angeles, California

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to replace Columbus Day with a day celebrating indigenous, aboriginal and native people, acknowledging Columbus as a symbol of genocide for native people.

Vice Chairwoman of the L.A. City County Native American Indian Commission, Chrissie Castro, argued that lawmakers needed to “dismantle a state-sponsored celebration of genocide of indigenous peoples,” according to the LA Times.

The decision has been met by some protest from the city’s Italian community who says the holiday marked the arrival of Columbus in the Caribbean, making it a touchstone for Italian Americans. Many advocated for creating Indigenous People’s Day just on a separate day.

The debate to change the day were spearheaded by two councilmen, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation and Councilman Joe Buscaino, a first-generation Italian American.

While O’Farrell called replacing Columbus Day “restorative justice,” Buscaino first suggested to change Columbus Day to a day that celebrates “all of the diverse cultures in the city,” but eventually advocated to hold Indigenous Peoples Day on Aug 9th, a day the United Nations selected to acknowledge Native People.

Buscaino’s proposal was rejected by the council in an 11-4 vote.

The council voted in favor of replacing Columbus Day with a 14-1 vote, with only Buscaino opposed.

The date, held on the second Monday of October, will still be a paid holiday off.

Madison has proclaimed the day Indigenous Peoples Day every year since 2005.