Indigenous Peoples’ Day is meant to celebrate and recognize Native Americans and their history and culture. The idea of renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first brought up during the 1977 United Nations conference in Geneva, Switzerland. 14 years later, activists in Berkeley, Calif. won the fight to rename the day and declared Oct. 12 a day of solidarity with indigenous people. It sparked a growing movement across the nation.
Why the call for change? Columbus Day was first recognized in 1937 after Italian-American community groups lobbied to create the holiday. It is often criticized for celebrating the discovery of a land that was already inhabited. Columbus Day also offends many indigenous people because Columbus himself is considered responsible for the rape, murder and enslavement of their people. The goal of the name change is to instead recognize indigenous people and help share their true history with the public.