Indigenous Peoples’ Day Coming to Cleveland, But Not in Place of Columbus Day

That spot on the October calendar known as Columbus Day will remain the same in Cleveland, city council voted yesterday. But Indigenous Peoples' Day is also getting recognition, albeit on a separate date.

As a compromise to legislation that would have implemented Indigenous Peoples' Day on the second Monday in October instead of Columbus Day, the council decided to make Aug. 9 the date for the new holiday. 

Back in May, a group of council members, including Basheer Jones, Joe Jones, Anthony Hairston and Jasmin Santana, urged the city to switch the holidays to honor those here before Columbus' arrival in the Americas in 1492. But the resolution received push-back from council members of Italian decent, Matt Zone and Mike Polensek, who said the holiday served as a celebration for those of Italian heritage.

“I still oppose Columbus Day,” Jones said during yesterday's council meeting. “But I do not oppose be beauty of the heritage of Italian-Americans.”

Cleveland joins other cities across the state making additions of Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Oberlin officially instated Indigenous Peoples' Day in 2017, and Cincinnati did so in 2018. Earlier this year, Sandusky announced plans to no longer recognize Columbus Day, instead allowing the second Tuesday in November, aka Election Day, to serve as a city holiday. Akron as well has gone back and forth on whether the day should be replaced.

Indigenous Peoples' Day was created to recognize Native Americans' rich contribution to our country, in place of a holiday that many see as celebrating a brutal past of colonization.

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