While the annual celebration of Christopher Columbus has fueled years of outrage, satire, and resistance, this year an alternative holiday recognizing the original inhabitants of the United States appears to have reached the mainstream.
In the past two months alone, eight major municipalities—including Albuquerque, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; Bexar County, Texas; Anadarko, Oklahoma; Alpena, Michigan; Lawrence, Kansas; Carrboro, North Carolina; and Olympia, Washington—have opted to pay homage to the history and culture of the country's true native people by celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October. This wave follows recent moves in Seattle and Minneapolis, among others.
"For the Native community here, Indigenous Peoples Day means a lot," Nick Estes, who helped coordinate the city celebration after Albuquerque city council issued a declaration on the matter, told the Associated Press. "We actually have something. We understand it’s just a proclamation, but at the same time, we also understand this is the beginning of something greater."