Posted on March 21, 2019

New Mexico Becomes the Fourth State to Vote to Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Harry Howard, Daily Mail, March 18, 2019

New Mexico is set to become the fourth state to replace the controversial Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day following a vote in the state senate.

The Senate voted 22-15 in favor of the proposal on Friday and it had already passed in the state House.

If Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs the bill, New Mexico will follow South Dakota, Hawaii and Oregon in replacing the holiday with the alternative celebration.

Instead, on the 14 October the state will celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.

Sen. Benny Shendo, who presented House Bill 100 on the senate floor, told the Santa Fe New Mexican: ‘I see this as a reconciliation process, not only as New Mexicans but as Americans.’

Supporters said the alternative celebration would better reflect New Mexico’s culture.

According to US census data, Native Americans make up 12 per cent of New Mexico’s population.

However, Sen. Mark Moores criticized the move and said: ‘I think this bill is more about dividing us than bringing us together.’

The celebration of Columbus Day has become increasingly controversial because of the explorer’s divisive history.

The day marks the Italian explorer’s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492, in what is modern-day San Salvador.

Some historians assert that Columbus committed atrocities against Native Americans after he had arrived in America.

The first statewide holiday was celebrated in Colorado in 1907, and it was made a statutory holiday in 1907.

It was then made a federal holiday by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in April 1934.