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News > World

Seattle Considers Rename of Columbus Day to ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’

  • Downtown Seattle from Queen Anne Hill (Photo: Wikimediacommons).

    Downtown Seattle from Queen Anne Hill (Photo: Wikimediacommons).

Published 19 September 2014

The council will make their decision on October 6.

Seattle, a city named after a Native American chief, may become the next major U.S. city after Minneapolis to change the name of Columbus Day, a national holiday in the United States.

The proposal to change the name to ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’ will be discussed by a council committee on October 6.

The measure, which would redesignate the second Monday of October as "Indigenous Peoples' Day," reportedly has broad approval among the committee´s nine member body and is expected to pass.

Columbus Day commemorates Christopher Columbus' 15th century contact with the Americas, although many call into question the celebration of the individual who initiated European colonization in the Americas.

The Seattle Human Rights Commission, one of the organizations behind the initiative wrote in a statement, "The celebration of Christopher Columbus and his alleged 1492 discovery of the lands that would later become known as the Americas works to celebrate an era of colonization and dispossession of indigenous peoples' homelands." 

Other supporters, including Native American groups and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, say the move will represent the history of the United States and foundation of the city.

The proposal has raised concerns by some of the Italian descendent population in Seattle who consider Columbus Day to be part of their heritage. 

Columbus Day first became a U.S. federal holiday in 1937. Several jurisdictions in the United States do not recognize the holiday including Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and the City of Berkeley, California. 

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