On the second Monday in October, Los Angeles will no longer celebrate Columbus Day — it's now Indigenous Peoples Day.
The Los Angeles City Council voted 14-1 to remove Columbus Day from its city calendar, following debate between Native American activists who say the holiday honors a man who committed atrocities against natives and Italian-American civic groups who argued that getting rid of the holiday is an affront to their heritage. Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937, pushed by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization. Los Angeles city employees will still have the day off as a paid holiday, only now it will commemorate "indigenous, aboriginal, and native people." Several major cities, like Seattle, Denver, and Albuquerque, have already replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
L.A. Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation in Oklahoma, wants to establish Oct. 12 as Italian-American Heritage Day at City Hall (employees will not get this day off). He's brushing off complaints that getting rid of Columbus Day is a divisive move, saying: "We are not creating a racial conflict. We are ending one." The lone vote against eliminating Columbus Day came from Councilman Joe Buscaino, a first-generation Italian-American, who wanted to turn the day into a holiday that celebrates "all of the diverse cultures in the city," the Los Angeles Times reports. Italians have also been discriminated against in the U.S., he argued, and by doing away with Columbus Day, it would "cure one offense with another. All of our individual cultures matter."