Some US states mark their first Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Updated October 15, 2019

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People taking part in a rally to mark Indigenous Peoples' Day in downtown Seattle sing as they march toward Seattle City Hall on Monday, October 14, 2019. — AP
People taking part in a rally to mark Indigenous Peoples' Day in downtown Seattle sing as they march toward Seattle City Hall on Monday, October 14, 2019. — AP

ALBUQUERQUE: A handful of states are celebrating their first Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday as part of a trend to move away from a day honouring Christopher Columbus.

From Minnesota to Vermont, at least five states and Washington, DC have done away with Columbus Day celebrations in deference to Native Americans, though the federal Columbus holiday remains in place. Since 1992, Native American advocates have pressed states to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day over concerns that Columbus helped launched centuries of genocide against indigenous populations in the Americas.

New Mexico is marking its statewide Indigenous Peoples’ Day with an invocation by several tribal leaders in unison in their Native languages. There also will be a parade and traditional dances at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

“I think it’s great and it’s about time,” said All Pueblo Council of Governors Chairman E. Paul Torres, who is a member of Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico.

State offices in Maine also are scheduled to close in honor of the holiday. Maine, home to four federally recognized tribes, ditched Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day with an April bill signing by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2019