What is Columbus Day if the nation’s largest city named after the explorer drops the celebration?
Columbus, Ohio, isn’t marking the holiday as it has done in the past to honor Christopher Columbus with a day off from school and work, but instead will honor veterans with the same break from labors on Veterans Day in November. This is the first time in the city’s history that it has declined to mark the day for Columbus, USA Today reported.
City officials claim it was not a decision in response to of attempts to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day that celebrates Native Americans, USA Today reported.
Officials made the announcement last week.
Columbus Day was made a federal holiday in 1937, but less than half of the states make it a paid holiday for employees, the Dispatch reported.
Some states and local governments now call the holiday, which is the second Monday of October, “Indigenous Peoples Day.”
The change has been rippling through the country since the ‘90s, after some Americans came to the conclusion that Columbus Day celebrated the deaths of indigenous people after Columbus landed in America and the subsequent arrivals of Europeans to the New World. About 90 percent of the native population died following his arrival and by the time the Pilgrims came in 1620, some experts say.
The first city to rename the holiday is believed to be Berkley, California, which changed the day in 1992, The East Bay Times reported. Dozens of cities and states followed its lead as of 2018, CNN reported. Those cities include Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Madison, Wisconsin, Fortune reported. Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont and Oregon have adopted Indigenous Peoples Day, CNN reported.
Mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts, Joe Curtatone, said that the idea to change the name of the holiday was simple, CNN reported.
“Columbus Day is a relic of an outdated and oversimplified version of history,” Curtatone wrote last month on Facebook announcing the change.
South Dakota changed the name of Columbus Day to Native American Day. Hawaii calls the day as Discoverers’ Day, CNN reported.
Despite the name changes, the holiday is still the federal holiday of Columbus Day with all federal offices and many banks closed, and no mail delivered, Time reported. The stock market though still trades.
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