Kansas lawmakers considering replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day

Lawmakers in Kansas are considering abolishing Columbus Day and replacing the national holiday with Indigenous People’s Day.

Members of the Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee heard testimony from several Native Americans earlier this week from several people backing the change, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Wednesday.

No one reportedly testified against the legislation.

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Kansas State Rep. Ponka-We Victors (D) told the paper that the passage of the bill “will help seek truth and dispel the myth that Columbus discovered America.”

“Changing this day will celebrate the indigenous peoples’ survival, resilience and deep contributions to all peoples that now live on this land,” she continued.

Victors also noted that several cities in the state, including Lawrence and Wichita, have already formally authorized recognition of Indigenous People’s Day.  

Kickapoo Tribe chairman Lester Randall told the paper that the bill would honor local tribal communities and could better relations between tribal governments and the state.

“The painful history of Native Americans in this country is one that cannot be erased or forgotten, but the narrative of those experiences can be reshaped,” he said.

“By changing the second Monday in October to Indigenous People’s Day, the state of Kansas can further demonstrate awareness of the rich history, culture and traditions of the indigenous peoples of America and the resident Indian tribes in our state,” he added. 

The bill needs to be adopted by the state Legislature before it crosses Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) desk for signature.

If passed by the legislature and signed by Kelly, the bill will take effect on July 1. 

The report comes several months after San Francisco’s primary legislative body voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in efforts to recognize the “historic discrimination and violence” against Native Americans in the U.S.