Seattle replaces Columbus Day with ‘Indigenous People’s Day’

Just a week after Seattle’s City council unanimously approved replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day — a holiday that will honor and celebrate the cultural contributions of Native Americans — Mayor Ed Murray invited members of city council along with Native American tribal leaders to the signing ceremony on Monday afternoon.

Despite being a federal holiday, Washington is among several other states and cities that no longer recognize Columbus Day as a legal holiday.

In Hawaii for instance, “Discoverers’ Day” has replaced Columbus Day. In South Dakota, “Native Americans Day” is celebrated on the second Monday of October.

In spite of the council’s unanimous decision, the resolution garnered some opposition, particularly from an Italian-American group that says the city council’s decision was an “example of this administration’s overreach and excessive political correctness at the expense of everyday citizens.”

Lisa Marchese, a lawyer affiliated with the Order Sons of Italy in America and the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest, told the Seattle Times that Italian-Americans feel slighted by the outcome.

“By this resolution you say to all Italian-Americans that the city of Seattle no longer deems your heritage or your community worthy of recognition.”

Conversely, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant told the Seattle Times, “learning about the history of Columbus and transforming this day into a celebration of indigenous people and a celebration of social justice… allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization, discrimination and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day.”