Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day? The Debate Continues Kids News Article

Columbus Day has been a controversial holiday since its inception. (

Columbus Day, which honors the arrival of the Italian explorer on October 12, 1492 in the Americas has been a US federal holiday since 1971. However, the holiday, marked annually on the second Monday in October (October 10 of this year), has always summer controversial. Many believe that the mistreatment inflicted by European settlers on Native Americans was not a cause of Party.

Historians also claim that Christopher Columbus did not “discover” the continent. The native people lived in the Americas long before he arrived. Nor is he the first European to set foot in North America. A Norse explorer named Leif Erikson set up the first European settlement in Greenland in 980 AD – nearly 500 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

Some US states, such as Oregon, Iowa and Nebraska, have never recognized Columbus Day. Hawaii renamed it “Discoverers Day” — honor of the state’s Polynesian founders – in 1971, while South Dakota changed it to “Native American Day” in 1990. controversial increased, many American schools and universities have ceased observe vacations.

Columbus Day is replaced by Indigenous Peoples Day in some US states. (Pew Research/CC-BY-SA-2.0)

In 1977, a delegation Indigenous Nations — at the International NGO Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas — offers rename the holiday “Indigenous Peoples Day”. They believed the change would help honor the victims of American colonization. The resolution was passed with a overwhelming majority.

Berkeley, CA was the first city to make the switch in 1992. Santa Cruz, CA followed soon after in 1994. The idea really started to gain traction momentum after 2014. That year, Minneapolis, MN, Grand Rapids, MN, and Seattle, WA renamed Columbus Day “Indigenous Peoples Day”. Since then, more than 100 cities and entire states, including Alaska and Oregon, have adopted Indigenous Peoples Day.

Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in Berkeley, California. (Quinn Dombrowski/ CC BY-SA 2.0/ Wikimedia Commons)

In 2020, Colorado replaced Columbus Day with Cabrini Day in honor of Frances Xavier Cabrini. The Italian-American Catholic nun helped implement more than 67 schools, hospitals and orphanages, in the United States and in South and Central America. In 2021, President Joe Biden became the first sitting US president to issue a presidential proclamation marking Indigenous Peoples Day. This encouraged Americans to celebrate the holiday on the second Monday in October, along with Columbus Day.

But not everyone thinks a name change is necessary. For Italian Americans, Columbus Day is the master piece Italian Heritage Month, celebrated every October. They argue that the holiday honors the history of immigration, not the explorer. Therefore, they think the name should be kept or replaced with something more appropriatesuch as Italian Heritage Day.


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