Vermont Poised To Officially Replace Columbus Day With Indigenous Peoples' Day

“It is a time to reflect on our understanding of our country’s history, both the good and the bad,” a New Mexico lawmaker said earlier this year when his state made the same change.

If all goes to plan in Vermont, the second Monday in October will soon officially be Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day.

Legislators in the state passed a bill to that effect last Wednesday, seeking to codify what’s been a tradition since 2016, thanks to a proclamation by Democrat Peter Shumlin, who was governor at the time.

Current Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, told the Burlington Free Press he’ll likely sign the bill.

Vermont would join other states in the change including South Dakota, which replaced Columbus Day with Native American Day way back in 1990; New Mexico, which dropped Columbus for Indigenous Peoples’ Day earlier this year; and Alaska, which made the change in 2017.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) is also poised to sign legislation similar to Vermont’s. 

Hawaii, Minnesota and Oregon also observe similar days. In Hawaii, Columbus Day is Discoverers’ Day, in recognition of the Polynesian discoverers of the Hawaiian Islands. 

“The shift to Indigenous Peoples’ Day sends a strong message to the descendants of the people who once were sought to be extinguished that there’s a renewed appreciation for their resiliency and contribution to our great state,” New Mexico state Rep. Derrick J. Lente (D) said in a statement after his state changed the holiday. “It is a time to reflect on our understanding of our country’s history, both the good and the bad.”

At least 60 cities have also picked up the mantle as well, including Columbus, Ohio.