Indigenous Peoples Day to replace Columbus Day in LA County

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Indigenous Peoples Day will officially replace Columbus Day in Los Angeles County, thanks to a Tuesday night vote of approval from the County Board of Supervisors.

The motion makes the day an official county holiday. The first official Indigenous Peoples Day will start no later than 2019. With the vote, Los Angeles County joins cities such as Phoenix, Seattle, Minneapolis and Berkeley, which have also made the same switch. 

“The motion, let me be clear, is not about erasing history," said Hilda Solis, Supervisor for Los Angeles' Fifth District, who introduced the motion. "This is about understanding that for centuries, America’s ancestors oppressed certain groups of people. And while we can’t change the past, we can acknowledge and make that history right today.”

The vote mirrors a similar measure approved by the Los Angeles City Council in late August, which made Indigenous Peoples Day an official city holiday.

Joseph Quintana is with United American Indian Involvement, the largest human and health service provider to American Indians living in Los Angeles. He spoke at the board meeting about his relationship with the holiday named for the Italian explorer.

"I'll tell you what Christopher Columbus means to me. He is something that suppresses the American interested Indian identity. Not only for adults but our young people," he said.

The motion also recognizes the "rich and unique history and diversity represented within the indigenous population residing" in Los Angeles County. 

The proposal also designated Oct. 12 as Italian American Heritage Day, a nod to Italian-Americans who view Columbus Day as a celebration of their national heritage.

Read the full motion here

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