Louisiana among 15 states observing 'Indigenous Peoples' Day' instead of 'Columbus Day'
Whether or not its acceptable to continue celebrating Columbus Day has been a matter of debate in states, cities and municipalities around the US for many years, and CNN reports that Virginia is the latest state to officially replace observation of 'Columbus Day' with the celebration of 'Indigenous Peoples' Day.'
The holiday is meant to recognize native populations that were mistreated after Christopher Columbus and other European explorers arrived on their land.
Though Columbus Day is a federal holiday, meaning non-essential government offices will remain closed on that day, states and local governments can choose to withdraw from observing a federal holiday.
Louisiana, and now Virginia, are among the 15 states (including Washington D.C.) that have chosen to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day. In addition to the 15, two states have decided to celebrate both holidays.
A list of the states that made the history-changing decision are below. However, the more than 130 cities that have replaced Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples' Day are not mentioned in the list below.
Seven states officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day
-Alaska: Observes Indigenous Peoples' Day as of 2017
Gov. Bill Walker signed observances of the holiday in 2015 and 2016 before making the switch official in 2017.
-Hawaii: Observes Discoverers' Day in place of Columbus Day
-Maine: Observes Indigenous Peoples' Day as of 2019
-New Mexico: Observes Indigenous Peoples' Day as of 2019
-Oregon: Observes Indigenous Peoples Day as of 2017
-South Dakota: Observes Native American Day as of 1990
-Vermont: Observes Indigenous Peoples' Day as of 2019
Eight states plus DC observe Indigenous Peoples Day via proclamations
-Iowa: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds made a proclamation in 2018 designating Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples' Day.
-Louisiana: The Pelican State doesn't recognize Columbus Day. Gov. John Bel Edwards declared October 14, 2019, the state's first Indigenous Peoples' Day but hasn't issued a 2020 proclamation yet.
-Michigan: On October 14, 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared the day to be Indigenous Peoples' Day "to uplift our country's indigenous roots, history, and contributions."
-Minnesota: In 2019, Gov. Tim Walz signed a proclamation declaring the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples' Day. The state is home to 11 Tribal Nations.
-North Carolina: Gov. Roy Cooper has made yearly proclamations designating the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.
-Virginia: In 2020, Gov. Ralph Northam declared Monday the first Indigenous Peoples' Day in Virginia, calling it an "important step in creating an inclusive, honest Commonwealth." The state is home to 11 native tribes.
-Wisconsin: Gov. Tony Evers established Indigenous Peoples' Day via an executive order days before the observance in 2019.
-Washington, DC: The DC Council voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day a few days before the 2019 observance.
Two states celebrate both holidays
-Alabama: The state celebrates both Columbus Day and American Indian Heritage Day.
-Oklahoma: In 2019, the state voted to move Native American Day to the same day as Columbus Day so the two could be celebrated concurrently.
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