A newer holiday might eventually replace Columbus Day altogether.
Indigenous People's Day, celebrated in opposition to the holiday that was meant to commemorate the Italian explorers' landing in the Bahamas in 1492, is celebrated on the second Monday of every October.
Columbus Day is not a fan-favorite, given Christopher Columbus's track record. While many states continue to observe Columbus Day (about 23 states allow it to be observed as a paid holiday for state workers and many companies), the celebration is widely ridiculed for its association with the genocide and enslavement of indigenous “Americans.”
The holiday was originally created to commemorate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Bahamas, 400 hundred years ago, in 1492. President Franklin Theodore Roosevelt created a proclamation that made it a federal holiday in 1937.
In recent years, many schools and businesses have begun to observe Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus Day. More and more jurisdictions across the nation are also recognizing Indigenous People’s Day in an effort to distance the day from Christopher Columbus, CNN reported in 2015.
The first Indigenous Peoples Day was reportedly celebrated in Berkeley, California in 1992. A resolution created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 officially made Aug. 9 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. Before that, South Dakota decided to rename the second Monday of October Native American Day, the Washington Post reported.
As of 2015, jurisdictions in Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington decided to make Indigenous People’s Day the same day as Columbus Day. “Reclaiming the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day makes a powerful statement,” Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said in a statement. “It says ‘We are no longer going to celebrate a time of genocide, but instead we will honor the land we live on and the people who have been here since the beginning.”
Most recently, Santa Fe, New Mexico, proclaimed the second Monday of October to be Indigenous People’s Day, the New Mexican reported Sept. 29. The Santa Fe City Council ruled in favor of the replacement holiday. In a letter issued to tribal leaders in the state, Mayor Javier Gonzalez wrote, “We are proud to be part of a national movement to honor the importance of Native culture and history, and we hope that many other cities will follow suit.”