In August 2017, the Los Angeles City Council voted to replace “Columbus Day” with “Indigenous Peoples Day” on the city calendar. For many years, activists and advocates have argued that Columbus Day should be eliminated as a holiday since Christopher Columbus is viewed by many as a symbol of genocide of Native Americans and other indigenous peoples living in North America.
The debate over the date and name of the holiday was tense, with Italian-Americans fighting for their own voice in the history of America. The change to Indigenous Peoples Day is viewed by supporters as a step toward righting the wrong that so many Native American’s have battled for generations. Opponents view it as an attempt to erase Columbus from the history books.
The City Council ultimately ruled that “Indigenous Peoples Day” would take place on the second Monday in October.
Los Angeles is one of many major cities across the U.S. to embrace Indigenous Peoples Day. New York, San Francisco, St. Paul, and Albuquerque all have unique celebrations honoring Native American culture. This year marks the first official celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day for Los Angeles, and it seems that local supporters will have plenty of celebration options.
The celebration in Los Angeles is being heralded as one of the largest in the nation. The Los Angeles Civic Center is hosting an all-day celebration on October 8th, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Grand Park and City Hall public spaces will be used for the various events. The celebration is free, and you can register on the Eventbrite website.
Currently, the Native American rock group “Redbone” is expected to perform in Grand Park as part of the finale. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell announced recently that the Black Eyed Peas will also perform in a showing of support. The celebration also includes events, such as a sunrise ceremony, a 5k run, a Native American powwow, a parade, live music, and several panel sessions.
Many supporters are hopeful that it will inspire change across the U.S.