Published October 18, 2017
KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN – After a long debate on Monday, October 16, 2017, the Kalamazoo City Comission voted unanimously to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, instead of Columbus Day on the second Monday of October each year.
The vote is symbolic since the city does not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday for city employees in any way.
The American Indian Movement has long sought to eliminate the observance of Columbus Day. Here is language from a press released distributed by the American Indian Movement in October 2000:
“COLUMBUS WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE AMERICAN HOLOCAUST, ETHNIC CLEANSING CHARACTERIZED BY MURDER, TORTURE, RAPING, PILLAGING, ROBBERY, SLAVERY, KIDNAPPING, AND FORCED REMOVALS OF INDIAN PEOPLE FROM THEIR HOMELANDS.”
Kalamazoo joins about two dozen cities in the United States that have done away with Columbus Day in recent years. Some states do not observe Columbus Day, including Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and South Dakota. The day has been a federal holiday since 1937.