25 Cities That Ditched Columbus Day

October 10th 2016

Almie Rose

Each year, more an more cities in the United States are choosing to ditch Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples' Day, in a move to recognize and honor the people who lived in North America before Christopher Columbus arrived.

Native Americans

Though Columbus Day is observed by the federal government and a majority of the United States, there are some cities and states that have decided to do away with Columbus Day entirely.

This month Phoenix and Denver are the latest cities to make the switch to Indigenous Peoples' Day, according to The Washington Post, but they join over 20 other cities, who have already make the change. Let's take a look.


Berkley, California drops Columbus day for Indigenous Peoples' Day way back in 1992.

South Dakota makes the switch to Indigenous Peoples' Day state-wide in 1990 (though they call it Native Americans' Day).


Minneapolis, Minnesota decides the second Monday of every October will be known as "Indigenous People's Day" reports the StarTribune in a move a Council Member called "about the power of the American Indian people and indigenous communities all over the world."

Seattle, Washington also makes the switch to "Indigenous Peoples' Day" with one city council member telling the Seattle Times "this is about taking a stand against racism and discrimination," according to NPR.

Red Wing, Minnesota changes their Columbus Day to "Chief Red Wing Day" to honor the proper ancestors of their land. Mayor Dan Bender told local paper Post Bulletin, "From what I've read about Columbus, I don't understand why we're even celebrating Christopher Columbus Day."

Grand Rapids, Minnesota officially marks the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day, according to Grand Rapids' Herald Review.


Traverse City, Michigan makes the change to Indigenous Peoples' Day, as commissioner Jim Carruthers acknowledges, "it would be nice if we did some kind of educational event but I don't think the city will take it any further," according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Town of Newstead and the Village of Akron of New York (admittedly technically not a city) switches to Indigenous Peoples' Day with a big celebration, according to The Buffalo News.

St. Paul, Minnesota celebrates their first Indigenous Peoples' Day in place of Columbus Day.

Anadarko, Oklahoma becomes the "first municipality in Oklahoma to officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day," according to Oklahoma paper Red Dirt Report.

Olympia, Washington switches to celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day in place of Columbus Day, specifically to honor the city's Native American tribes (like the Squaxin, Nisqually, Quinault, Puyallup, Chehalis, Suquamish and Duwamish tribes, according to The Olympian.)

Anchorage, Alaska started celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day, with Willie Hensley, a "former state legislator and longtime Alaska Native leader" declaring "it's about damn time," according to Alaska Dispatch News. Soon all of Alaska drops Columbus Day.

Portland, Oregon makes the switch in a "unanimous" vote, according to Portland news affiliate KGW NBC.

Carrboro, North Carolina celebrates their first Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Albuquerque, New Mexico also drops Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples' Day.

San Fernando, California becomes the first city in Southern California to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day over Columbus Day.

Belfast, Maine replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day in December.


Durango, Colorado becomes the first city in 2016 to switch to Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Asheville, North Carolina's City Council votes "unanimously" to make the switch, specifically to "to celebrate the contributions of Cherokee," according to an Asheville news affiliate.

Eugene, Oregon makes the change to Indigenous Peoples' Day, led in part by their Native American Student Union, according to local paper Eugene Weekly.

Cambridge, Massachusetts makes the switch in June in an unanimous vote.

Boulder, Colorado follows two months later, with Boulder's mayor saying "sorry it took so long," according to Boulder News.

Bainbridge Island, Washington celebrates their first Indigenous Peoples' Day in place of Columbus Day.

Santa Fe, New Mexico "unanimously" approves the change with an 8-0 vote, according to Santa Fe New Mexican.

Denver, Colorado never officially acknowledged Columbus Day but now officially acknowledges Indigenous Peoples' Day, according to The Denver Post.

Yakima, Washington drops Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples' Day earlier this month.

Phoenix, Arizona follows a day later in another unanimous vote.

Vermont decides to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day state-wide. Gov. Peter Shumlin says he wants the people of Vermont to "recognize the sacrifice and contributions of the First Peoples of this land," reports Burlington Free Press.

In terms of cities only, that makes 24 that have made the switch from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Twenty-five if you count the town of Newstead/Akron.