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LA replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day

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LOS ANGELES — Columbus Day will be replaced with Indigenous Peoples Day in Los Angeles after the City Council there voted on Wednesday to rename the holiday, a change that was championed by activists who argued that Christopher Columbus represents the genocide of Native Americans, Los Angeles Times reports.

The move to change the holiday, which falls on Oct. 9 this year, was led by two councilmembers, who had different ideas about how to go about it, the Times reports.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation, wanted the council to rename the holiday as Indigenous Peoples Day. O’Farrell argued that Columbus’ arrival resulted in centuries of anguish for the Native American population.

City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is of Italian heritage, had pushed for a different name in order to prevent Italian-Americans, who have long celebrated Columbus Day, from feeling excluded or replaced.

Opponents of the change argued that changing the holiday would erase their heritage and wanted to mark a different day for Native Americans.

O’Farrell said the plan calls for Oct. 12 to be set aside as Italian American Heritage Day in Los Angeles. It will not be a day off for city employees. The second Monday in October — formerly Columbus Day, soon to be Indigenous Peoples Day — will remain a paid day off for city workers.

The council’s vote comes as there has been a nationwide debate over U.S. holidays and historical monuments.

In New York City, council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has called for the removal of a Columbus statue to be considered as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property.” The mayor ordered that review in the wake of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, N.C., that began as a protest against the taking down of a Confederate statue.

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