indigenous, Vermont, Columbus, celebrate, Americans

Vermont on Track to Officially Replace Columbus Day With Indigenous Peoples’ Day

One more state works to do away with a reminder of genocide.

Vermont is one signature away from abolishing Columbus Day altogether and permanently recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The Vermont Legislature passed a bill that “will aid in the cultural development of Vermont’s recognized tribes, while enabling all indigenous peoples in Vermont and elsewhere to move forward and formulate positive outcomes, from the history of colonization.”

It will likely be signed into law by Republican Governor Phil Scott. “I see no reason that I would not sign it, but we’re reviewing the bill as we speak.”

The bill would go into effect this summer, and Oct. 14, 2019, would be the first official Indigenous Peoples’ Day. They have been celebrating it already as such for three years.

Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937 to honor the Italian explorer who “discovered” the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492.

The whitewashing of history uses celebration and discovery to clean up the horrendous acts of Columbus. But for descendants, it’s an annual reminder of genocide.

“Things that are symbolic can carry very far,” Rich Holschuh, a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, told the Burlington Free Press. “The degree of disinformation and lack of understanding around the situation of native people in Vermont, as a microcosm of the national situation, is totally exemplified in the way that Columbus has been celebrated and the native people ignored.”

Holschuh said that recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day “opens up an opportunity for that story to begin to change.”

Columbus was responsible for the Atlantic Slave Trade, which has impacted Black Americans to this very day, as reparations are debated among 2020 presidential candidates and the Congressional Black Caucus continues to strive for the approval of research to show the specific socio-economic impact of slavery.

Related Story: Georgetown Students Vote Yes to Pay Reparations

He was also responsible for robbing, raping, dismembering, murdering, roasting, and completing the genocide of Natives. He also practiced family separation, and said colonizing could be financed by slavery:

“These things could be paid for in slaves taken from among these cannibals, who are so wild and well-built and with a good understanding of things that we think they will be finer than any other slaves once they are freed from their inhumanity, which they will lose as soon as they leave their own lands.”

Though some dispute his violence and defend his “discovery,” many have come to know the man celebrated in October as a racist.

Vermont’s Republican opponents proposed a separate day to honor indigenous people in February, but it didn’t pass.

Berkeley, California, replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992 to honor the original inhabitants of the Caribbean islands where Columbus made landfall and ruled.  In 1989, South Dakota started calling the holiday Native American Day. Alabama celebrates a combination of Columbus Day and American Indian Heritage Day, and Hawaii calls it Discovery Day.

New Mexico and South Dakota, have already legally renamed Columbus Day. Legislation in Maine is awaiting the governor’s signature.  Alaska never recognized Columbus Day as a state holiday but passed Indigenous Peoples’ Day legislation in 2017.

In February, the city of Sandusky, Ohio, swapped Columbus Day for Election Day as a paid holiday for city employees so they can use the day to exercise their voting rights.

“Columbus Day was not a way for us to show that we value our diversity,” Eric Wobser, Sandusky’s city manager, said at the time.

“I know it’s controversial from many standpoints, from many people, but you know, it’s just a day, and we’ll get through it,” Vermont Governor Scott said. “And we’ve been treating it as something different over the last couple of years through resolutions.”

Latest News

banned books

Texas Lawmaker Pursues Banning 850 Books From Schools Over Fears That They Might Cause ‘Student Discomfort’

The state of Texas is continuing its descent away from democracy and equality for its citizens. First came its horrifying rollback of women’s rights with its recent abortion ban. Then came its recent attack on trans students’ ability to participate in sports. Now, Texas lawmakers are at it again, this…

closeup of hand with remote

Anti-LGBTQ Group ‘One Million Moms’ Protests Mattress Company’s Inclusive Commercial Featuring Lesbian Couple

The conservative anti-LGBTQ hate organization known as One Million Moms is at it again, this time protesting a TV commercial from the bedding company Avocado Green Mattress, which features a number of couples relaxing on their mattresses, including what the group considers an “offensive” lesbian couple. The Advocate’s Trudy Ring…

girls high school sports

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Officially Bans Transgender Students From School Sports

Holding true to threats he has made in the past, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has officially signed into Texas state law a rule that would restrict transgender students from participating in high school sports consistent with their gender identity. ESPN’s Katie Barnes reported that following Abbott’s action, Texas has become…


New FBI Report Estimates Anti-Asian Hate in the United States Increased by 73% in 2020

We’ve known anti-Asian sentiment increased dramatically in the U.S. since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but new government data quantifies just how shockingly severe that jump has been. Based on recently released FBI data, Sakshi Venkatraman of NBC News reported that “anti-Asian hate crimes increased more than 73% in…

Boeing building

Boeing Global Services CEO Ted Colbert Named Black Engineer of the Year by ‘US Black Engineer & Information Technology’ Magazine

Originally published at Boeing Company ranked No. 17 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, has been named Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) for 2022 by U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine. The…