HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Is the upcoming holiday Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day? It all depends on who you ask.
A growing number of local communities, as well as other states, are changing the name of the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. But there are still many people out there who celebrate the Italian explorer.
The holiday technically celebrates Christopher Columbus landing in the Bahamas in 1492, and discovering what is now the Americas. But supporters of Indigenous Peoples’ Day say it’s a way to face the reality of the genocide and land theft that happened to Native Americans after Columbus’ arrival.
Easthampton, Amherst, Northampton, Holyoke and Great Barrington have all changed the name of the day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but federally and statewide it is still Columbus Day.
“We need to honor indigenous people, Native American people, and come to terms with our bloody and really horrifying past.” Lev Natan, Founder of Alliance for a Viable Future
In the U.S., seven states officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, eight states observe it via a proclamation and two states commemorate both. There is currently a bill in the State House that would officially change the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day here in Massachusetts, but the bill is still being discussed.