Maine House passes bill to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day

Maine House passes bill to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day
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The Maine state House passed a bill Tuesday that would change the Columbus Day holiday to Indigenous People's Day.

The bill, which still faces a vote in the Senate, was approved by the House with a 88-51 vote, according to Maine Public.

While Columbus Day is still a federal holiday, Maine would join a handful of other states that have recently taken up legislation in an effort to rename it in honor of Native Americans.

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State Rep. Rachel Talbot-Ross (D) said Christopher Columbus should not be celebrated or honored.

“Christopher Columbus, while making an important impact on history, was also a war criminal,” she said. “And is the symbolic genesis of the idea that Indigenous people of the Americas were a savage and inferior race that should be exterminated in order for progress and colonization.”

State Rep. Roger Reed (R) opposed the measure, saying one cannot go back and change history.

“As regrettable as these are, they are still part of America's’ story,” he said. “We can’t change what has occurred in the past and we certainly don’t condone what has happened.”

State Rep. Nena Newell, who is a non-voting representative from the Passamaquoddy Tribe, praised the bill and said it would would correct "long-standing history,” according to the Portland Press Herald.

The bill now goes to the state Senate for a vote.