Columbus, Ohio cancels Columbus Day

Columbus column on the Barcelona harbour

Columbus column on the Barcelona harbour

Columbus Day honors one man with a violent and controversial past; Indigenous Peoples Day honors many who have died and who have survived historic discrimination and violence.

"Columbus Day is a relic of an outdated and oversimplified version of history", the mayor wrote when announcing the decision last month.

Columbus Day was first recognized as a USA federal holiday in 1937, but some states (Alaska, Hawaii and South Dakota) do not observe the holiday, which is widely controversial because of Columbus' treatment of indigenous people.

Just this year, at least a dozen U.S. cities - including San Francisco and Cincinnati - made a decision to stop observing Columbus Day and will instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday.

"Columbus is home to 110,000 veterans", Davis said in an email to NPR.

Dozens of other cities and entire states, including Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont and OR, have also replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Cincinnati is among the most recent jurisdictions to rename the holiday "Indigenous Peoples Day" this year after two previous failed attempts.

The idea of changing the traditional holiday has often sparked intense disagreements.

The change provoked strong reactions in Columbus, as seen on local news channel 10TV's Facebook page.

Christopher Columbus's spirit of determination & adventure has provided inspiration to generations of Americans.

"People are not aware of the actual history", Gumbs says.

But it became the subject of protests past year over Columbus's enslavement of native people, with the protest's organizer supporting renaming the city itself.

The largest city named for Christopher Columbus has called off its observance of the divisive holiday that honors the explorer, making a savvy move to tie the switch to a politically safe demographic: veterans. As will states like Alaska, Vermont, Minnesota and Oregon.

The issue has become something of a sore spot for Italian Americans, who will often point out that they were not treated particularly well themselves when they first started arriving in the US. Amid the debate, many also note that on October 12, 1492, the explorer made landfall in the Bahamas, not in what later became the United States.

The Ohio capital has a population of 860,000 with 8,500 city employees, Robin Davis, Director of Media Relations for Mayor Andrew Ginther, told ABC News.

The choice to de-emphasize its namesake comes as Columbus prepares to open the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum on October 27, ahead of Veterans Day next month.

No doubt there are some residents that support the city shrugging off the holiday this year but according to The Washington Post, there is one group whose opposition to it has rung out the loudest.

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