BOSTON (WWLP) – Monday is Columbus Day but that could soon be changing here in Massachusetts.

A bill on Beacon Hill would require the Governor to proclaim the second Monday in October as Indigenous People Day, effectively getting rid of Columbus Day all together.

Columbus Day was first officially celebrated in 1892 when President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation in honor of the 400th anniversary of Columbus beginning his journey. In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday. However, in recent decades Indigenous people and other groups have begun to protest the holiday.

Here on Beacon Hill, proposals would do away with Columbus Day. The goal of changing the name of the holiday is to educate Bay Staters on the racism and violence that happened as a result of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the Americas.

Senator Jo Comerford said celebrating Columbus discovering America perpetuates a myth, which keeps all of us from telling the truth about American history, “In order to become part of a accurate historical understanding of what happened in Massachusetts, you know hundreds of years ago, we need to start by stopping the memorialization of Christopher Columbus and instead recognize that indigenous communities were thriving on this land when Columbus came ashore.”

Although this bill is pro-native people, some are viewing it as anti-Italian American. Legislation to do away with Columbus Day has been reported out favorably before, but this bill currently still sits in Committee.

According to Comerford, approximately 20 states and Washington D.C. have already done away with Columbus Day in order to honor Indigenous people instead.

Local News

Ellen Fleming is a reporter at the Boston State House who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Ellen on X @EllenFlem and view her bio to see more of her work.