State Watch

Maine bill to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day heads to governor's desk

A bill changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day in Maine is heading to the governor's desk after senators voted to approve the House-passed measure this week.

While Columbus Day is still a federal holiday, Maine would become the eighth state to take up such legislation in an effort to rename it in honor of Native Americans. 

The Maine House approved the measure last month in an 88-51 vote, and the Senate approved it Thursday, 19-14.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Janet Mills (D), who has indicated she will sign it into law.

State Rep. Rachel Talbot-Ross (D) previously said 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."

At least five other states, including New Mexico and Hawaii, have also done away with Columbus Day celebrations in deference to indigenous people.

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