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Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day explained

  • / Updated:
  • Samantha Parish 

The White House has announced that it recognizes two federal holidays on the second Monday of October: Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

columbus day and indigenous peoples' day

With the changes happening, many are trying to understand why the holiday has been renamed, or added to.

Columbus Day has been recognized every second Monday of October since 1968, according to AS.

Why do many Americans want Columbus Day to be renamed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

One of the major issues people have with the holiday is that Christopher Columbus was one of the first colonizers to show up in America. Following his arrival, and many others from Spain and Europe, was one of the largest genocides in history.

Native Americans suffered death and cruelty as their populations were killed by disease and violence at the hands of colonial settlers from Europe.

America spent decades celebrating Columbus’s arrival despite the genocide that occurred soon after.

This has led to many Americans asking for Columbus Day to be called Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in honor of those who were massacred upon Columbus’s arrival.

In response, the White House has stated that today, Monday Oct. 10, will also be known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Indegenous People have suffered at the hands of the U.S. government, including thousands of women being sterilized in the 1970s. Children were taken from their families and households belonging to Indigenous communities had no access to medical resources. Life on the reservations were difficult to manage, opening the community up to alcoholism and addiction.

This is the second time that the White House has recognized both holidays. This isn’t enough in many people’s opinions. This is due to undermining of Indigenous people throughout the U.S. by still celebrating Columbus Day.

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