San Francisco Says Goodbye to Columbus Day

View of San Francisco skyline from Indigenous Sunrise Ceremony on Alcatraz Island.

Published January 24, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, San Francisco supervisors replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. The 10-to-1 vote was done so to honor American Indians and condemn past atrocities their ancestors suffered.

San Francisco joins several other major cities that have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in recent years, such as Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Yesterday’s vote met resistance from the Italian community who say Christopher Columbus should be honored as a means to celebrate their heritage.

Many American Indians have long resisted the observance of a day to honor Christopher Columbus, who is credited with “discovering” the Americas in American history.

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.”

Some states do not observe Columbus Day, including Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and South Dakota. The day has been a federal holiday since 1937.

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