NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Monday is considered Columbus Day but people in western Massachusetts have a new name for the holiday.
Many know it as Columbus Day, a day an Italian navigator discovered America. However, cities and towns across Massachusetts are joining a national movement to start celebrating the holiday as ‘Indigenous People’s Day’ on the second Monday of October.
It’s a newly-recognized holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures.
States like Florida, Hawaii, Vermont, and Maine recognize it as Indigenous People’s Day. Northampton and Amherst are also on board with the change.
“It’s important to recognize the people that were here first and are still here,” one man from Northampton said.
Earlier this year, Framingham and Ashland State Representative Jack Patrick Lewis filed a bill to eliminate Columbus Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The bill calls for the governor to issue a proclamation and for the day to be observed by the people, to acknowledge the history of genocide and discrimination against indigenous peoples.
There was a hearing on the Bill at the State House in May, but the bill still sits in Committee.
Six Massachusetts cities now celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, but Massachusetts still doesn’t recognize it as such.