Vermont and Phoenix Join Hands to Support 'Indigenous People’s Day' as Criticism for 'Columbus Day' Continues
An effort to rebrand the "Columbus Day" in the United States of America redefines the event, which marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. The State of Vermont has issued a proclamation to rename the day as "Indigenous People's Day".
According to reports by CBS News, Gov. Peter Shumlin of the state of Vermont has taken this decision in honor of the sacrifice and contribution of the First People of the land which includes their ancestors and allies such as Abenaki. He adds that the day is an opportunity to celebrate "indigenous heritage and resiliency". However, this proclamation will only be applicable to this year and it may be issued yearly by the next Governor.
The change makes Vermont the latest state to renounce Columbus Day and make it about the people Columbus encountered after crossing the ocean blue. Following the path of Vermont, the city of Phoenix, Arizona has also declared that it would recognize Native Americans with its first "Indigenous People's Day", this year.
This change comes successively after 14 communities in the United States including the cities of Seattle, Minneapolis and Albuquerque decided to pass measures designating the second Monday of October as "Indigenous People's Day". In an account provided by CNN, it is described that this movement is a broad attempt to shift the focus from the Italian explorer, Columbus, to recognizing the identity of Native Americans known as Indigenous People and taking into account their contributions.
The "Columbus Day" which was first celebrated in the year 1792 on Oct 12 to honor the Italian-American heritage and the discovery of America, has garnered high criticism in the recent years. The day, which is marked as a holiday in the United States, has been a victim of protests as proponents feel that honoring Christopher Columbus would mean overlooking a painful history of colonialism, enslavement, discrimination and land grabs that followed his arrival in the Americas.
Supporters of the "Columbus Day", however, contend that the Italian-Americans have endured their own share of discrimination and deserve to be honored. As the conflict on this Federal holiday lingers, only 23 states and Washington recognize this day as a paid holiday for state workers.