Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May today introduced legislation that would replace Columbus Day with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in D.C., a symbolic shift that other U.S. cities—including Los Angeles, Olympia, and St. Paul—have considered or even already enacted.

“We know [about] the demise of the culture of the people that happened when the Europeans came,” May said before the D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole. “We’re very excited to make sure we’re highlighting and celebrating the history of indigenous people in the District.”

In proposing the bill, May cited the Southeast neighborhood of Fairlawn, where Nacotchtank Native Americans (part of the Algonquin people) lived during the 17th century. In fact, John Smith, on a map dating from 1612, indicated that the Anacostia River was called the Nacotchtank.

Councilmembers Yvette Alexander, Charles Allen, Anita Bonds, David Grosso, and Brianne Nadeau cosponsored the bill.

[documentcloud url=”https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2515110-indigenous-peoples-day-docx-bill.html”]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery