Seattle, Washington, is looking to oust Christopher Columbus Day in an upcoming vote. On Tuesday, Sept. 2, Seattle’s City Council opened a discussion about a proposal to replace the holiday with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Although several members of city council and Mayor Ed Murray support the change, the council decided to postpone the vote, rescheduling it to October 13.
The proposal is off to a somewhat rocky start, however, members of several local Native American tribes rallied outside City Hall. Additionally, the city council has received several emails from members of the community opposed to changing the name of the 77-year-old holiday. According to a local radio station, Councilmember Bruce Harrell has little doubt that the vote will pass. Reportedly the council’s decision to delay the vote is intended to give Mayor Murray enough time to bring attention to the change, and even make a ceremony out of the signing of the resolution.
Seattle’s upcoming decision to change Columbus Day follows in the wake of a Minneapolis, Minnesota decision to pass a similar resolution in April. In both cases, the cities hope that the symbolic change of the holiday’s name will bring about greater recognition of the Native Americans who found and settled America long before Columbus did, and the high price indigenous communities paid when Europeans arrived in the “New World.”
Nevertheless, critics of the change in both cities cited the move as merely a gesture of “political correctness” that will have little impact on recognition of Native American communities. However, the Seattle resolution hopes to actualize the change by urging public schools to alter their curriculum in a way that more properly portrays indigenous history and culture.