It’s Time to Change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day

For 82 years now, since Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937, we have celebrated an explorer who engaged in enslavement, unspeakable atrocities and the genocide of this hemisphere’s indigenous peoples. Why? 

Monday, October 14, 2019 is yet another day that the United States will again honor Columbus Day.  


Columbus Day should be replaced with Indigenous People’s Day. 

This is not a new concept. The movement to rethink Columbus Day has been around for a while. I can recall viewing this video a decade ago and thinking that it was absolutely time to reconsider Columbus Day. That was then.  

Today, we are still campaigning to replace the day from honoring a lie. Fact. Christopher Columbus did NOT discover America. In fact, he never even made his way to North America.  Yet, somehow he has been celebrated as a hero since 1937. For that matter, Columbus didn’t actually discover anything. He simply sailed to the Americas, namely what is now Haiti. 

Fun Fact:  

President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus’s landing in the New World on the 400th anniversary of the event… Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, and the first such celebration was held in New York City on October 12, 1866.  (Wikipedia, 2019) 

For the record.  Columbus was (by all personal accounts) a horrible person who committed terrible atrocities such as enslavement, murder, torture, and genocide.

And seriously, is Christoper Columbus even taught in schools today? Or is the holiday just another day to lounge around the house or go shopping? As far as I can tell, it is a frivolous day that should be changed once and for all. 

Apparently, I am not alone!  The woke young people of America agree.  A recent poll found that 79% of college students also agree it’s time to do away with Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous People’s Day.  Some states already do not observe the day as Columbus Day.


The states of Florida, Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Maine do not recognize it and have each replaced it with celebrations of Indigenous People’s Day (in Hawaii, Discoverers’ Day, in South Dakota, Native American Day). In April of this year, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a new law converting Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.  

Changing the day would be aligned with the direction we want to go in teaching a culturally appropriate curriculum in California.   

California, it’s time. 

What do you think?
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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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