Today, the Board of Supervisors passed a motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, removing ‘Columbus Day’ as an official County holiday and replacing it with ‘Indigenous Peoples Day.’ Since at least 1970, Native Americans have celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October as a day of remembrance of our ancestors, as a means of dispelling the myth that Columbus discovered America, and to celebrate the survival, resilience, and deep contributions to all people who now live on this continent.
“This action is about publicly recognizing that America’s ancestors, for centuries, oppressed certain minority groups. This is not about erasing history; I believe the full history and impact of Christopher Columbus should be taught to current and future generations,” said Supervisor Solis. “While we cannot change the past, we can realize the pain that millions suffered throughout our nation’s history, as well as the tremendous achievements of the original inhabitants of our continent. With today’s action, I hope to advance this fuller understanding of our history.”
Recognizing the contributions, history, and sacrifices made by the original inhabitants of Los Angeles and this continent is long overdue. This one act of restorative justice is important to many communities throughout the County, especially Native Americans, who have some of the highest percentages of depression, incarceration, infant mortality, diabetes, and a lower life expectancy of any demographic.
The motion establishes Indigenous Peoples Day as an official County holiday on the second Monday of each October; designates October 12th of each year as Italian American Heritage Day in the County of Los Angeles; and sends a 5 signature letter urging the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education to consider taking a similar action.
As declared by the presidential proclamation of 2015, Native Americans and their traditions inspire the ideals of self-governance and determination that are the framework of our Nation. Native Americans have provided significant contributions to our American cultural tapestry, including agriculture, medicine, self-governance, music, language, and art. In addition, the Native American community includes globally-recognized inventors, scholars, and spiritual leaders.
The designation of Italian American Heritage Day in the County of Los Angeles on October 12th of each year provides an opportunity for County residents to recognize the contributions of Italian Americans to the history and culture of Los Angeles.
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