Columbus Day is no longer "Columbus Day" in Seattle. The city council yesterday redesignated the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day. Reuters reports that the measure notes that Native Americans inhabited North America long before Columbus showed up in the New World; further, it points out that Seattle itself was constructed on top of their homes. Columbus "played such a pivotal role in the worst genocide humankind has ever known," councilmember Kshama Sawant tells the Seattle Times. "This is about taking a stand against racism and discrimination," she says. But the city's Italian Americans are "deeply offended."
As one resident puts it, "By this resolution you say to all Italian Americans that the city of Seattle no longer deems your heritage or your community worthy of recognition." But as the Times points out, Columbus Day wasn't actually a city holiday prior to the move. Washington is one of a number of states that don't recognize what is elsewhere a federal holiday; Indigenous Peoples' Day will not be an official Seattle holiday. Seattle is the second US city to make such a change, having followed Minneapolis' lead. The change will take effect this coming Monday. (Columbus is in the news for more reasons than one this week.)