Columbus Day has become an increasingly political day in the United States as more Americans move away from celebrating Christopher Columbus and drift towards the day's alternative celebration: Indigenous Peoples' Day. 

Celebrated on the second Monday of October, Columbus Day is a federal holiday that recognizes the discovery of the Americas in 1492 by Catholic Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. During the day of observance, many non-essential government offices close for the day. 

However,  Columbus Day also represents the marginalization of and discrimination against Native Americans who already lived there, as entire communities were either enslaved or wiped out by illness so Columbus could get the gold and riches he initially sought when he set out on his original journey, according to Interexchange.  

With the knowledge that Columbus' journey to America was so harmful to the natives, activists began fighting for the holiday to be replaced and renamed since the 1980s, PBS reports. The activists argue that the holiday gives credit to the discovery of a land that was already inhabited and that it also honors a man who tortured and wipes out entire populations of Native Americans. 

“Columbus Day is not just a holiday, it represents the violent history of colonization in the Western hemisphere,” Leo Killsback, a professor of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University, told

Since states have the authority to determine whether they recognize that holiday or not, the movement against Columbus Day has prompted many states to shift towards the celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day instead. According to, that day actually honors Native Americans and their contribution to U.S. history.  

Several states now either recognize Indigenous People’s Day as a replacement for Columbus Day or in addition to the original celebration. States that do this include Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In addition, South Dakota celebrates the day as Native Americans' Day, while Hawaii instead acknowledged Discoverers' Day. Washington D.C. also voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day in 2019, CNN reports.