History Behind Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Updated: May 20

In this blog, we summarize how this holiday evolved into celebrating a beautiful culture rather than a European explorer.


Columbus Day was celebrated on October 12, 1492 to mark Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. This holiday celebrates Columbus’s achievements and celebrated Italian-American Heritage. However, many states do not celebrate him. They celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. As we dive deeper in history, we discover the violence Europeans inflicted on Native Americans. This holiday is hurtful for them and a reminder of the pain and oppression of their ancestors. Each passing year, more states refuse to acknowledge Columbus Day.


Today, 26 of 50 states do not observe the holiday. Some replaced it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day or Italian Heritage Day. This change was brought by people who petitioned their local state to abolish the holiday. For Example, Baley Champagne petitioned the Governor of Louisiana to change the day and led to a snowball effect on other states abandoning the holiday as well. The meaning behind the holiday has now transformed and celebration consists of Indigenous people and bringing awareness to what this holiday truly represents.


History is an important aspect of our culture as it defines our present. Always remember that history is someone’s story and stories are told with the teller’s perspective. Research all perspectives of historical facts to make your own interpretation. Oftentimes, one perspective may leave out important information that occurred. Your knowledge consists of how open your mind is to all aspects of information.


On this historical day, I encourage you to spend some time researching this holiday and having a discussion with your family.


Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day! We hope you have a wonderful day!


Reference: Fadel, L. (2019, October 14). Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples' Day? Retrieved October 12, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2019/10/14/769083847/columbus-day-or-indigenous-peoples-day


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