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Spokane Changes 'Columbus Day' to 'Indigenous People's Day'

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Columbus Day celebrations in the U.S. date back as far as 1792. In 1892, U.S. President Benjamin Harrison called for an unofficial national celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus's crossing of the Atlantic and, in 1937, Columbus Day became an official national holiday. Since 1970, Columbus Day has been noted on the second Monday of October.

Four U.S. states—Alaska, Oregon, South Dakota and Hawaii—don't recognize Columbus Day. For example, South Dakota instead celebrates the day as "Native American Day."

The city of Spokane, Wash. has also decided to change the second Monday of October to "Indigenous People's Day."

The idea isn't new. The city of Berkeley, Calif. was the first to celebrate "Indigenous People's Day" in 1992. The cities of Seattle, Wash.; Sebastopol and Santa Cruz, Calif.; and Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minn. followed suit.

KREM-TV reports that Monday night, the Spokane City Council voted 6-1 to celebrate Indigenous People's Day. But the vote didn't come without some pushback from members of the public. For instance, the president of the Spokane Italian Club said the change was a "disrespect to Italian culture." And a sign outside of Spokane's Maxwell House Restaurant reads "Columbus Day Scam—Pure Racism Aimed At Italians."

Meanwhile, Nez Perce tribal member JoAnna Kauffman told the council, "We have come to understand the myth."