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LocalIndigenous Peoples’ Day

September 1, 2015

On October 6, 2014, the Seattle City Council gave the second Monday in October a new name. “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” will honor the first people here, the Native Americans. But this day is also a federal holiday called Columbus Day.
Columbus Day was named after the explorer Christopher Columbus. Many countries in the Americas celebrate Columbus Day. In the U.S. it is a day to celebrate Italian-American history and culture.
But in Washington, Columbus Day is not a legal holiday. It is also not a legal holiday in Seattle.
So councilmember, Kshama Sawant, pushed for a name change. She said, “Don’t focus on Columbus.” He did not really “discover” America. Native Americans were already living here.
Columbus’ voyage, however, was the beginning of some painful history. His trip connected America and Europe. European settlers came and pushed Native Americans out of their lands. They became poor. Many died. They faced much discrimination. “This is nothing to celebrate,” said Sawant.
Some Italian-Americans, however, are upset about the change. Councilmember Bruce Harrell encouraged them to continue to honor Columbus. But he also said, “…as a city …we [must] recognize the evils of our past.”
Renee Roma Nose, Tulalip tribe, said, “We are asking for mutual respect and understanding. We hope that this holiday brings that.”

Published September 2015

Comments (6)


  1. Ally Tu says:

    From this story, I feel the equality of the people in the U.S. everyone can have own view and opinion.

  2. Vicki says:

    Columbus didn’t really “discover” America. Native American were already living there. There were some the painful history and discrimination for Native American. We should remember it and never do that again.

  3. Mila Tari says:

    Thanks for pointing out an important historical fact! I’m proud that the City of Seattle celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

  4. Trung Tran says:

    Thanks for sharing this history.

  5. Hanna says:

    The name chang of the holiday, means the people now are more respectful to the history.

  6. Dawa Chhomo says:

    First time, I knew about second Monday in October. We celebrated Christopher Columbus Day. Why we celebrated the Columbus Day? Later I knew it. Our Seattle city council members changed “Indigenous People’s Day”.at Seattle. I appreciate their way of thinking.

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