Next Monday many in our nation will celebrate the achievements of Christopher Columbus, but the citizens of our second largest city will not.
In August the Los Angeles City Council voted 14-1 to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, joining a growing number of communities across the country making this switch. In the last five years 45 cities in 20 states have either replaced or removed Columbus Day; 14 cities have done it in 2017 alone.
The state governments of Alaska, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, South Dakota and Vermont have done likewise. While surveys suggest a majority of Americans continue to support Columbus Day, millions nationwide have walked away from it.
Some will no doubt view the move by Los Angeles as another example of Hollywood’s politically correct rewriting of history. But in fact Los Angeles has the second largest Native American population in the country, and the state of California as a whole has the largest number in the United States, almost 365,000 people. The Los Angeles council member who authored the bill to replace Columbus Day is himself a member of the Wyandotte Nation; when he took office four years ago, he was sworn in by his tribe’s chief.