With each passing year, an increase in the number of cities and states favoring a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day over Columbus Day occurs, and 2021 is no different.
While federally, Columbus Day is recognized as a holiday, which means places like post offices and banks are closed, some states and local governments are choosing not to observe it, instead changing the name and intent of the October holiday altogether.
CNN reports that as many as 130 cities across the country have ditched Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day. States are also following with Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Vermont all choosing to officially celebrate a version of Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of or in addition to Columbus Day.
Additionally, Arizona, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C. have observed indigenous Peoples’ Day via proclamations.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, herself a member of the Laguna Pueblo people, sent out a special message commemorating Indigenous People’s Day and is also running the Boston Marathon to honor her ancestors.
“On this special day, I will run for missing and murdered Indigenous peoples and their families, the victims of Indian boarding schools, and the promise that our voices are being heard and will have a part in an equitable and just future in this new era,” she wrote in an op-ed for The Boston Globe.
On Monday (October 11), Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to issue a proclamation commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, writing that the holiday “celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations,” CNN reports.