LA City Council replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day

By Ray Downs  |  Aug. 30, 2017 at 11:26 PM
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Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to do away with the Columbus Day holiday and replace it with Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Councilmembers passed the measure 14-1 to commemorate indigenous, aboriginal and native people, reported KABC. As before, the holiday will take place on the second Monday in October and will be a paid holiday for city employees.

"This gesture of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day is a very small step in apologizing and in making amends," said Councilman Mike Bonin, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But the move angered some Italian-Americans, who said eliminating a day honoring one of history's most famous Italians was an affront to their community.

"On behalf of the Italian community, we want to celebrate with you," Ann Potenza, president of Federated Italo-Americans of Southern California, told Native American activists before the vote. "We just don't want it to be at the expense of Columbus Day."

Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is Italian-American, was the only person to vote against the measure. He had proposed to make August 9 Indigenous Peoples' Day, but the plan was rejected.

Columbus Day in California had already been eliminated in 2009 by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wanted to save money by getting rid of the holiday for state employees. He also eliminated Abraham Lincoln's birthday from the paid holiday list.

But the City of Los Angeles decided to keep the holiday for city employees.

Los Angeles became the latest city to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Just days before the L.A. Council voted, Bangor, Maine voted to do the same.

Phoenix, Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver and the state of Vermont have also replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day in recent years.

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