Indigenous Peoples Day or Columbus Day? 14 states celebrate, honor Native American histories and cultures

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fairly difficult
Some groups say Columbus Day celebrates Italian American heritage. Many who celebrate Indigenous People's Day argue it glorifies genocide.
CLOSE A growing number of cities, states and universities are replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, also known as Native Americans Day. USA TODAY

Story Highlights Across the country, states, cities and schools are observing Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day.

Columbus Day celebrations date back to 1792, when New York City celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landfall.

The notion of an Indigenous Peoples Day took root at an international conference on discrimination sponsored by the United Nations in 1977.

Scores of cities and towns plan to host virtual or outdoor events Monday to mark Indigenous Peoples Day, which celebrates and honors Native American histories and cultures.

Fourteen states – Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin – plus the District of Columbia and more than 130 cities observe Indigenous Peoples Day instead of or in addition to Columbus Day.

The notion of an Indigenous Peoples Day took root at an international conference on discrimination sponsored by the United Nations in 1977. South Dakota was the first state to recognize the day in 1989, and the cities of Berkeley and Santa Cruz, California, followed. California and Tennessee observe Native American Day in September.

Though some groups argue that Columbus Day celebrates Italian American heritage, many say the holiday glorifies an exploration that led to the genocide of native peoples and paved the way for slavery.

Indigenous Peoples Day: A time for greater cultural awareness, recognition of obstacles

Alabama Indigenous Coalition members and supporters march on Dexter Ave. in Montgomery, Ala., on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (Photo: Jake Crandall/ Advertiser)

Although Columbus is credited as the "discoverer" of the New World, millions of people already inhabited the Americas. Columbus made four expeditions to the Caribbean and South America over two decades,…
Grace Hauck
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