What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day? Does it replace Columbus Day?

What started in 1977 as a day of respect at a discrimination conference has now become a national holiday honored by President Joe Biden.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which honors Native American history and culture, falls on the calendar the same day Columbus Day, first recognized as a national holiday in 1934 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Columbus Day has prompted political debate in states, cities and municipalities around the U.S., especially in the last decade, with many favoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead.

“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” Biden wrote in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamation. “…we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”

In Syracuse, the fight over a monument clouds Columbus Day events

Syracuse, N.Y. — For nearly nine decades, crowds have gathered for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Columbus monument in downtown Syracuse on the holiday that bears the explorer’s name.

But today, the event will take place under the pall of a contentious lawsuit about the monument’s future, pitting a group of high-profile area residents against the city’s mayor.

The Columbus Monument Corp. – the group that holds the annual ceremony – sued the city and Mayor Ben Walsh in May over the mayor’s plan to take down the Columbus statue that sits atop the monument. The group argues that Walsh doesn’t have the legal authority to remove the statue from the downtown plaza known as Columbus Circle.

Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas

and elsewhere, and a federal holiday in the United States, which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492.

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