These States, Cities Are Ditching Columbus Day To Observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day Instead

Oct 14, 2019, 8:17 AM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:02 pm
Columbus Day has been a political lightning rod for states, cities and municipalities around the US...
Columbus Day has been a political lightning rod for states, cities and municipalities around the US for years now. Some have decided to do something about it.

(CNN) — Columbus Day has been a political lightning rod for states, cities and municipalities around the US for years now. Some have decided to do something about it.

Michigan, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia are among the most recent states and areas to change the October holiday to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” to recognize the native populations that were displaced and decimated after Christopher Columbus and other European explorers reached the continent.

Technically, Columbus Day is a federal holiday, which means it is recognized by the US government and thus brings the closure of non-essential government offices, and, usually, places like post offices and banks.

But states and local governments can choose not to observe a federal holiday. And, as is the case with a growing number of places, change the name and intent of the October holiday altogether.

Here’s a list of states, cities and other local governments that have chosen to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, as well as some places that don’t observe the holiday at all.


Vermont: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day as of 2019

Though the state made the unofficial switch in 2016 through a gubernatorial proclamation, the legislature just passed a bill making the adoption of IPD official.

Maine: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day as of 2019

New Mexico: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day as of 2019

Alaska: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day as of 2017

Governor Bill Walker also signed observances of the holiday in 2015 and 2016 before making the switch official in 2017.

South Dakota: Observes Native American Day as of 1990

Oregon: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day as of 2017

Hawaii: Observes Discoverers’ Day in place of Columbus Day

Louisiana: Governor John Edwards announced the adoption of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in September, 2019

Michigan: On October 14th, 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared the day to be Indigenous People’s Day “to uplift our country’s indigenous roots, history, and contributions..”

Wisconsin: Governor Tony Evers established Indigenous People’s Day via an executive order days before the observance in 2019.

Washington, D.C.: The DC Council voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day a few days before the 2019 observance.

North Carolina: Governor Roy Cooper has made yearly proclamations designating the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day.

Iowa: Iowa governor Kim Reynolds made a proclamation in 2018 designating Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Cities and counties

Note: Some of these places observe Indigenous People’s Day. Others do not observe Columbus Day, and still others partake in alternate observances.

Flagstaff, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Berkeley, California

Burbank, California

Long Beach, California

Santa Cruz, California

San Fernando, California

San Luis Obispo, California

Watsonville, California

Boulder, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Durango, Colorado

South Fulton, Georgia

Moscow, Idaho

Evanston, Illinois

Oak Park, Illinois

Davenport, Iowa

Lawrence, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

Amherst, Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Northampton, Massachusetts

Somerville, Massachusetts

Alpena, Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

East Lansing, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan

Ypsilanti, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grand Rapids, Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

Bozeman, Montana

Lincoln, Nebraska

Durham, New Hampshire

Newstead, New York

Ithaca, New York

Carrboro, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Columbus, Ohio

Cincinnati , Ohio

Oberlin, Ohio

Anadarko, Oklahoma

El Reno, Oklahoma

Lawton, Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Nashville, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Bexar County, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Charlottesville, Virginia

Olympia, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Bainbridge Island, Washington

Alexandria, Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin

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These States, Cities Are Ditching Columbus Day To Observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day Instead