County approves holidays for Indigenous Peoples and Italian-Americans, eliminates Columbus Day

Chris Hixenbaugh of the Zia Pueblo tribe participates in The Grand Entry during the 24th annual Hart of the West PowWow and Native American Craft Fair at William S. Hart Park in Newhall on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Columbus Day will no longer be observed in Los Angeles County after the Board of Supervisors voted to eliminate all references to the holiday and instead observe Indigenous Peoples Day.

The second Monday of each October will now be dedicated to celebrating Native American heritage starting in 2019.

“Native Americans are descendants of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people who were the original inhabitants of this continent,” the motion read. “One way to recognize the enormous historical contributions of Native American heritage and Indigenous People is through celebrations of culture, recognition of traditions and the continued support of artistic self-expression.”

Additionally, Oct. 12 of each year will now be known as Italian American Heritage Day to recognize their history and culture without reference to Christopher Columbus.

This replaces Columbus Day with the new holidays on any county calendars, schedules and administrative materials.

Supervisors voted on the motion 4 to 1. Supervisor Kathryn Barger voted in opposition and did not comment.

Supervisor Hilda Solis, who coauthored the motion with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, said Columbus should still be “taught and understood.”

“It’s not about erasing history,” Solis said at the meeting. “It recognizes that we do not support oppression, bigotry, hatred or genocide.”

With the motion, the board voted to send a letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education urging them to take similar action.

Similarly, Los Angeles’ City Council chose do away with Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day in August.

In a separate motion, supervisors unanimously voted to approve recognition of the Mid-Autumn Festival or “Moon Festival” on Oct. 4. This holiday is traditionally celebrated by Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and other Asian cultures, according to the motion by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Kathryn Barger.

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