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LA City Council Considers Replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day

A Los Angeles City Council committee Monday will consider a proposal to replace Columbus Day with a city holiday celebrating Native Americans instead of the European explorer, Christopher Columbus, amid opposition from Italian American groups.

If the Los Angeles City Council moves forward with the recommendation by the city Human Relation Commission, the city would join several others around the country that have swapped out Columbus Day for a new holiday known as Indigenous Peoples Day. The issue will first be taken up by the Arts, Parks and River Committee.

The plan to do away with Columbus Day has met with resistance from Italian American groups who view the holiday as important to their culture and history.

City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is Italian American, has also come out against abolishing Columbus Day in the city.

Noting that the creation of Indigenous Peoples Day could be seen as a step taken at the expense of another cultural group, Human Relations Commissioners said in their report that “the challenge for the city … is to enact a public celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day that will be viewed as enriching and benefiting everyone in the city.”

This includes recognizing the contributions of “native communities” such as the Gabrielino and Tongva tribes have made to Los Angeles, as well as those of other Native American groups to the country, while also working “to acknowledge the historical contributions and struggles the Italian American community has experienced, both in Los Angeles and the country at large,” the report said.

The idea to establish Indigenous Peoples Day in Los Angeles was proposed last year by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who claims Native American ancestry.

O’Farrell said at the time that while he is personally not a fan of Columbus, he wanted to keep options open by looking into whether Indigenous Peoples Day could be celebrated on a different day than Columbus Day.

 

Los Angeles

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