The City Council has voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day as an official Los Angeles holiday.
Council members voted 14-1 to make the second Monday in October a day to commemorate indigenous, aboriginal and native people.
It will be a paid holiday for city employees.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation tribe, pushed for the switch.
Some activists view Christopher Columbus as a symbol of genocide for native peoples.
The City Council has voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day as an official Los Angeles holiday. Council members are seen in the above February 2015 file photo
Demonstrators with the Mexica Movement marches with other demonstrators to a statue of Christopher Columbus during a protest against Columbus Day in Grand Park, Los Angeles on October 11, 2015. Some activists view Columbus as a symbol of genocide for native peoples
O’Farrell said the change is necessary due to ‘Columbus’ legacy of extreme violence, enslavement and brutality’ and ‘the suffering, destruction of cultures, and subjugation of Los Angeles’ original indigenous people, who were here thousands of years before anyone else.’
Councilman Joe Buscaino was the lone ‘no’ vote on Wednesday.
He sided with Italian-Americans, who view Columbus Day as a celebration of their national heritage.
Buscaino sought to push through a last-minute change which would create Indigenous Peoples Day on August 9 while Columbus Day would be replaced by a generic holiday celebrating multiculturalism.
This proposal was rejected, according to Fox 11 TV.
Buscaino chose August 9 because that is the day that the United Nations officially recognizes Indigenous People’s Day.
Councilman Joe Buscaino (left) was the lone ‘no’ vote on Wednesday.He sided with Italian-Americans, who view Columbus Day as a celebration of their national heritage. The 15th century Italian explorer is seen on the right
LA council members decided that the symbolism of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day was too important.
‘Replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day is a very small step in apologizing and in making amends,’ Council Member Mike Bonin, who supported the change, said.
Nonetheless, Buscaino remained defiant after the measure passed.
‘With or without Columbus, Italians will continue to celebrate their sacrifices and contributions to this great country and our great city,’ Buscaino said after the vote.
Los Angeles joins San Francisco and several other cities nationwide in honoring native Americans in lieu of Columbus.
Last October, Vermont became the latest state to officially change the name of Columbus Day.
Prior to LA, Phoenix, Arizona, was the largest city to officially adopt Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The city council unanimously passed the measure after two local residents brought the matter to the body’s attention last October
The state’s governor, Peter Shumlin, signed a proclamation cementing the change in law.
The proclamation said that the change was ‘an opportunity to celebrate indigenous heritage and resiliency’.
Los Angeles on Wednesday became the largest city in the country to re-name the holiday.
Prior to LA, Phoenix, Arizona, was the largest city to officially adopt Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The city council unanimously passed the measure after two local residents brought the matter to the body’s attention last October.
Unlike Columbus Day, which is a day off for federal workers and state government employees in select states that do choose to observe the day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Phoenix will be a day to celebrate contributions of the city’s indigenous community.
LA and Phoenix joined a list that includes Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, Portland, and San Antonio.