PORTLAND, Maine (CBS/AP) — Maine’s largest city and a New Hampshire town have voted to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Portland’s City Council and town councilors in Durham, New Hampshire, approved the measure Monday, which honors those who lived on the continent before it was colonized by western Europeans rather than Christopher Columbus.
Durham councilors considered calling it “The Age of Exploration and Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” but then voted to eliminate the first part.
Other Maine communities have voted for a similar change.
Italian-Americans opposed the proposal in Portland. They said Columbus Day is less a celebration about one individual and more a celebration of Italian-American heritage.
The Portland Press Herald reports City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau said the proposal was about including indigenous people in the historical discussion, rather than excluding Italian-Americans.
Last year, the Cambridge City Council in Massachusetts voted to change the October holiday to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
City Councilor Nadeem Mazen, who spearheaded the effort, said Columbus didn’t discover anything and was a war criminal.
“Columbus was not a laudable figure. He was a genocidal figure,” Mazen told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)