LATimes: L.A. council panel backs plan for a new city holiday: Indigenous Peoples Day

By David Zanniser
June 15, 2017, 5:00 AM

A key panel of the Los Angeles City Council endorsed a plan Wednesday to take Columbus Day off the city calendar and put in its place a new Indigenous Peoples Day, despite opposition from Italian American civic leaders and some city lawmakers.

The council’s Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations and Neighborhoods Committee unanimously backed the proposal from Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to establish a city holiday that recognizes the contributions and experiences of “indigenous, aboriginal and native people” on the second Monday of October currently a paid day off for city workers.

If approved by the full council, the proposal would go into effect no later than 2019. Columbus Day would remain a national holiday.

O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte tribe in northeast Oklahoma, had argued that the change in city holidays would provide “restorative justice” to Native Americans in Los Angeles and the nation. Replacing Columbus Day, he said, would provide a public acknowledgment that Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the 15th century set in motion the genocide of indigenous peoples across the Western Hemisphere.

“It’s a really devastating history,” O’Farrell said after the vote. “It was almost immediate subjugation and slavery.”

The proposal has drawn opposition from Italian American civic leaders, who have long viewed Columbus Day as an event that recognizes their heritage.

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