Minneapolis Axes Columbus Day, Replaces It

Indigenous People's Day gets a crack at the 2nd Monday in October
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2014 1:05 PM CDT
Minneapolis Axes Columbus Day, Replaces It
Clyde Bellecourt holds up a condor feather after leading a prayer before the Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted Friday, April 25, 2014, to recognize Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day.   (AP Photo/Star Tribune, Courtney Perry)

If you wait breathlessly every year for that brisk second Monday in October and the Columbus Day holiday that goes with it, then chances are Minneapolis is not the place for you. As the Star-Tribune reports, the Minnesota city's council voted unanimously on Friday to dump Columbus Day on all city communications. In its place, the council instituted Indigenous People's Day—long sought after by Native Americans, who contend that the explorer couldn't have discovered a continent on which their ancestors were already living. "It’s been a long time coming," says one organizer, lamenting the "almost 50 years that we’ve been talking about this pirate."

Columbus Day isn't entirely eradicated, and will still be recognized "in accordance with the federal holiday established in 1937." But for one council member, Columbus "is not the center of our existence. This is about the power of the American Indian people and indigenous communities all over the world." A state rep and US Rep. Keith Ellison say they're both willing to pursue similar measures at the state and national levels. (Read more Minneapolis stories.)

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