Indigenous People’s Day Declared Over Diminished Columbus Day Celebration


By Lauren Smith and Pavan Potti

SACRAMENTO – Monday, October 12, Gov. California Gavin Newsom declared the date as Indigenous People’s Day for the second year in a row – further diminishing “Columbus Day” as a national holiday in favor of the peoples slaughtered by European explorers.

Newsom acknowledged California’s darker history, including “the genocidal ‘war of extermination’ directed by California’s first governor” and recognized that the state’s history is rooted in the mistreatment and oppression of the Native American People; problems which still exist today through “xenophobic immigration policies, and construction of a border wall could threaten cultural resources.”

Yet, he claimed that the presence of the Indigenous People, who have pushed for the people to embrace a “fuller version of the past, has led towards a path of healing and a stronger sense of identification of the core values of the state.”

A few months ago – after ongoing protests – the state removed a statue of Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain from its location in the Capitol.

Newsom stated that the acknowledgment of the Native American people on this special day is also serves as a foundation of efforts to give back ancestral lands to tribes for cultural resource preservation as well as build upon the establishment of the “Truth and Healing Council,” a formal apology issued a year ago to the Native Americans of California.

Newsom further conveyed his appreciation for the Indigenous People for always being present to lend a helping hand during times of fire and natural disaster.

The statement from the governor comes 28 years after the state’s city of Berkeley became the first to celebrate the Indigenous people over the European explorer, Christopher Columbus.

Columbus Day was first declared a national holiday by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. Since then, Columbus Day has been celebrated in schools, workplaces, and even by President Donald Trump.

In a proclamation on Friday, President Trump “called on U.S. citizens ‘to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities’ and directed that the American flag be displayed on all public buildings Monday. He pushed back against the movement to recognize the day as Indigenous Peoples Day.”

Over time the Native American population has grown disappointed at the elevation of European conquerors; so, despite widespread celebration of Columbus Day and pushback from the president, various Indigenous Peoples’ communities spent years advocating for the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Eventually, individual states started to make changes on their own and in 1990, South Dakota became the first state to formally ditch Columbus Day for Indigenous People’s day instead.

Today, more than 130 cities and 15 states have chosen to either celebrate both, or solely dedicate the day for the Native American people. Some of these states include Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Oregon.

Other areas such as Salem, Massachusetts, Montgomery, Alabama, and Rockville, Maine marked Monday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time.

Mayor Steven Reed, Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama stated that Indigenous People’s Day is a “recognition of the city’s true history.”

“We are not rewriting history. In fact, we are allowing for a more accurate accounting of history by acknowledging the people who are native to this land,” Mayor Reed continued, “We must be honest about the past in order to heal, reconcile and become an even stronger community.”

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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23 thoughts on “Indigenous People’s Day Declared Over Diminished Columbus Day Celebration”

  1. Chris Griffith

    Okay I got to ask..

    What is an indigenous people?

    Are Mexicans indigenous people in the United States if so why? Are South Americans an indigenous people to the United States. What are the self-identifiers so I can check myself to see if I’m a indigenous person.

    How far back in a genealogical food chain does one have to go to be an indigenous .

    I can’t quite figure it out what does tearing down statues have to do with celebrating a holiday that nobody else celebrates except for a bunch of government workers and Bank employees so they can close down their branch and have a day off nobody else in this world gives a darn about Columbus day. at the rate the human race propagates how many purebred indigenous people are there really in the United States today.


      1. Chris Griffith

        Eric thank you very much for sharing this United Nations report.I wonder if the Chinese the Russians the Turks and of course the Taliban who can forget them I wonder if they’re all on board with this report?

  2. Chris Griffith

    I have an idea I think these guys need to go after Thanksgiving that sounds like a racist holiday and also how about Christmas I understand that came from a bunch of white people over in Europe too and who can forget Easter that has to be evil who would want to celebrate something like that a bunch of rabbits and colored eggs that has to be racist

    1. David Greenwald

      Which guys?

      There are some people who believe we should stop celebrating Thanksgiving. Personally I think celebrating Columbus Day was more problematic and shifting the focus to Indigenous People’s seemed appropriate. Thanksgiving celebrating the end of the harvest is more benign and can incorporate other narratives than the standard one.

    2. Chris Griffith

      Why not eliminate Columbus day and indigenous peoples day  as holiday completely it would save the taxpayers of California tons of money and the problem would be solved and as a added bonus the bank would be open.

    3. Bill Marshall

      In most of the public sector, particularly CA, including schools, there are no Christmas, no Easter holidays… for schools, there are Winter Holidays, and Spring Holidays… for City holidays, there is Dec 24, Dec 25, New Years Eve and New Years Day.  Problem ‘solved’, quite some time ago…

      As to “indigenous people”… there are none in the Americas…  there were the first immigrants, and latter day immigrants..

  3. Ron Glick

    I hope my dear friend Jack Forbes is smiling down upon California today. Jack, who founded the Native American Studies Department at UC Davis, was decades ahead on this one and was instrumental in firing the first arrow to pierce the image of Columbus as a hero with his 1978 book “Columbus And Other Cannibals.”

    Thanks to Jack and his colleagues the five hundredth anniversary of Columbus landing on what is now the Island of Haiti and The Dominican Republic was a bust and its been downhill for Columbus ever since.

    As one reviewer wrote of Forbes take down of Columbus:

    “Columbus and Other Cannibals: The Wétiko Disease of Exploitation, Imperialism and Terrorism” is a powerful book that dethrones the enigmatic Columbus and puts into perspective colonization of the Americas.

    The review goes on:

    According to Forbes, cannibalism is a disease. He refers it as the “wétiko”, cannibal, psychosis.  He writes of this form of cannibalism on the Americas brought by Columbus and crew:  “Brutality knows no boundaries, Greed knows no limits. Perversion knows no borders. Arrogance knows no frontiers. Deceit knows no edges.”

    R.I.P. Jack




    1. Chris Griffith

      I truly hope that anarchists like antifa in the future don’t try to rewrite  the book your friend wrote like antifa of the present is doing by destroying statues pertaining to the history today.

      1. Ron Glick

        It was stupid but how do you know it was Antifa? Did Antifa claim credit?

        CNN reports: “The original idea of the protest appears to have been started by an organization called Indigenous Action.”

        1. Chris Griffith

          Okay for the sake of argument you could ignore the word antifa you you could use different colored lipstick on this pig could use a group called indigenous action or some other group that supports the 1619 movement or maybe even the BLM I don’t care

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