Map: Making Indigenous Peoples Day official across the country

Photo by Joaquin Junco Jr. | instagram.com/juncocanche

A map of the 11 states and 129 cities recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day in 2019

In 2011, the National Congress of American Indians passed a formal resolution advocating for the second Monday of October to be renamed Indigenous Peoples Day.

A changing tide in cities and states have followed suit since then. In 2018 alone, 46 cities adopted the name in lieu of Columbus Day.

Indian Country Today created an interactive map showing all of the cities and states that have passed legislation recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day as a holiday. Other sites not included are counties, school districts and colleges and universities, amongst others.

The latest city added to this map and list amongst 129 others is the nation’s capital. The D.C. Council announced earlier this week it will celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day this year.

“In a city that itself sits on Piscataway land, we commend the D.C. City Council for voting to join the growing number of cities, counties, states, and school districts in formally celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” said Kevin Allis, chief executive officer of the National Congress of American Indians and Forest County Potawatomi Community member.

The holiday name change in the Capitol will only last a year, however, unless action is taken before May next year. This temporary legislation will require further approval before mid-May 2020 in order for the holiday to take effect in the future.

Down the road in Washington, the White House announced a Presidential Proclamation to celebrate Columbus Day rather than Indigenous Peoples Day. “Today, we commemorate this great explorer, whose courage, skill, and drive for discovery are at the core of the American spirit,” they said in a statement. “The bold legacy of Columbus and his crew spun a thread that weaves through the extensive history of Americans who have pushed the boundaries of exploration.”

Other states do not acknowledge Columbus Day but celebrate another version of Indigenous Peoples Day. Hawai’i honors “Discoverers’ Day” which pays homage to Polynesian voyagers. South Dakota celebrates “Native American Day.”

“This change allows the opportunity to bring more awareness to the unique, rich history of this land that is inextricably tied to the first peoples of this country and predates the voyage of Christopher Columbus,” Allis said. ”It also acknowledges American Indians and Alaska Natives as thriving, contemporary sovereign nations who hold their rightful place among the American family of governments.”

A Newsweek report published this week says 79 percent of college students support getting rid of Columbus Day to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples Day. Columbus Day became a national holiday in 1937. 

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today's Phoenix Bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com

(Indian Country Today, LLC., is a non-profit news organization owned by the non-profit arm of the The National Congress of American Indians. The Indian Country Today editorial team operates independently.)

Cover art by Junco Canché

Comments (8)
No. 1-8
Flybum
Flybum

How is tearing down things better than not giving notice to other things? Lunancy.

livinloa
livinloa

Bellingham, Washington in the Northwest celebrates Coastal Salish Day in honor of our local Native Americans. We would love to included on your map.

creemama27
creemama27

natives Should be honored this not just native heritage month

caniscandida
caniscandida

Here in New York there's a very sad state of affairs. I think there would be a lot of support for there to be a big, serious holiday focused on Native Americans, especially all the Indigenous peoples of this state. But on the other hand, for reasons of their own, Italian-Americans are numerous and politically powerful, and many of them -- by no means all! -- have swallowed the myth that Christopher Columbus was a good guy, and are under the impression that respect for Italians depends on honoring Columbus. Ideally we should find our way to coming up with two holidays, one for Native Americans (perhaps in honor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha?) and one for Italian-Americans (but NOT associated with Columbus).

Xoff
Xoff

Milwaukee County WI is observing it but not on map

hohodene
hohodene

Gainesville Florida has Indigenous Peoples Day since 2018.

Raziel_Crowley
Raziel_Crowley

igm
igm

As a 7th Gen Canadian, we were taught Christopher Columbus (real name 'Cristoforo Colombo', an Italian) discovered the Americas, including the USA. We know now that that is not the truth.
The first humans to discover and populate the Americas were the waves of humans that used the ice bridge from Russa, the Native Americans.
Cristoforo Colombo was not even the 1st European to discover the Americas, that would go to the Norse, 500 years earlier, when they discovered Northern Canada and established settlements.
The U.S. 'Columbus Day' falls on the same day as the Canadian Thanksgiving. That said, I totally agree that the USA should delete 'Columbus Day' and replace it with 'Indigenous Peoples Day'. And it should fall 1/2 way between the US and CND Thanksgiving, the 2nd Monday of Nov. and be celebrated on that day across all the countries of the Americas.