NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The second Monday of October is Columbus Day, but some don’t call it that.
Columbus Day recognizes Christopher Columbus’s 1492 arrival in the Americas. But many historians agree that Christopher Columbus didn’t actually discover America in 1492. Cities around the country, like Phoenix and Denver, have all recently approved changing Columbus day to Indigenous People’s Day and give recognition to Native Americans.
“It’s great, that we are taking an effort to recognize a part of history that should have been changed a long time ago and focus the importance on what really matters,” said Reshma Babbukutty of Bronx, New York.
More cities and towns across the country, like Amherst, are now recognizing the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day, rather than Columbus Day.
“It’s wonderful that they’ve nationally come to this new view of it, of native people,” said Paddy McKeag of Amherst.
Back in May of this year, Amherst voted at their town meeting to rename Columbus Day, Indigenous People’s Day. A day later Northampton voted to do the same.
“We’re really glad to hear that they are supporting it here in Amherst and in Northampton,” said Brad Kaplan of Wellfleet. “Celebrating the indigenous peoples here in the country I think is more important.”
Vermont is also now going by Indigenous people’s Day. But it’s not a paid holiday there and communities are still free to hold their own Columbus Day celebrations.
In most places, Indigenous People’s Day or Columbus Day, is not a paid holiday. Massachusetts is one of 23 states that recognize it as a paid holiday for state workers.