Controversial Christopher Columbus suffered a blow last week, as Maine became the most recent state to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Governor Janet T. Mills of Maine, who signed the legislation on Friday, said in a statement, “There is power in a name and in who we choose to honor.” Maine echoed the arguments of those across many states, who take issue with the fact that Columbus was given his own holiday, though he never actually set foot on the continental United States, and has committed atrocities toward Native Americans.
Ambassador Maulian Dana of the Penobscot National voiced her support of the bill at the signing ceremony. “As the original stewards of these lands and waters we are happy that our ancestral ties and contributions are validated and celebrated instead of silenced and ignored by the previous holiday that glorified the attempted genocide of our Nations. Our past can be painful but our present and future can be brighter with acts of unity and honesty.”
Maine isn’t the first to make changes to Columbus Day. According to The New York Times, the six states of North Carolina, New Mexico, Alaska, South Dakota, Oregon, and Minnesota, as well as 130 cities and towns, have already renamed the holiday.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day/Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October every year.