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Columbus Day Is Now Indigenous Peoples' Day In Evanston

By Mae Rice in News on Apr 28, 2016 6:45PM

Evanston's waterfront (photo via Facebook)

Evanston will replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day on the the city celebration calendar, Evanston's Mitchell Museum of the American Indian announced on Wednesday.

"I believe it's the right thing to do," Evanston's mayor, Elizabeth Tisdahl, said in the statement.

The holiday, first adopted in Berkeley, California in 1992, has been spreading as of late. At least nine cities—including Albuquerque; Portland, Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Olympia, Washington—adopted the holiday in 2015, according to the Associated Press.

Native American activists have been central to the surging popularity of the holiday, which celebrate the contributions of indigenous populations worldwide. Columbus Day and its celebratory tone, activists argue, ignores the violence, oppression and land theft Native people endured from European settlers following Columbus's arrival in America in 1492. Indigenous Peoples' Day aims to set the historic record straight.

In Evanston, the Mitchell Museum spearheaded the effort to get the holiday adopted, motivated by the city's Native American roots. Evanston was once home to the Ho-Chunk, Ottawa, Miami, and Potawatomi, according to the museum, and has a Native American population today as well.

This year Indigenous Peoples' Day, like Columbus Day, will be celebrated on Oct. 10.