The Council of the District of Columbia passed legislation that would declare the second Monday of October, which is federally recognized as Columbus Day, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
D.C. Councilman David Grosso (I) confirmed the news in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon. The bill passed the Council overwhelmingly, with 10 members voting in favor of the measure and two members voting “present.”
After 5 years, the Council has approved emergency legislation renaming Columbus Day as #IndigenousPeoplesDay. TY to @charlesallen @AnitaBondsDC @marycheh @BrianneKNadeau @RobertWhite_DC @trayonwhite @CMBrandonTodd @tweetelissa @CM_McDuffie for supporting. Let's make it permanent! https://t.co/p2kpSjbtNB— David Grosso (@cmdgrosso) October 8, 2019
The bill, which Grosso said he introduced as “emergency legislation,” would require the nation’s capital to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day as an official holiday on the day federally reserved for Columbus Day.
In a statement released by his office detailing the legislation earlier this week, Grosso said his proposed “bill would force a vote of the full Council to finally do the right thing by ending the celebration of the misleading narrative of Christopher Columbus on the second Monday in October.”
“Columbus Day was officially designated as a federal holiday in 1937 despite the fact that Columbus did not discover North America, despite the fact that millions of people were already living in North America upon his arrival in the Americas, and despite the fact that Columbus never set foot on the shores of the current United States,” he said. “Columbus enslaved, colonized, mutilated, and massacred thousands of Indigenous People in the Americas.”
“We cannot continue to allow this history to be celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia. The government of the District of Columbia is clear that we are a government that values equality, diversity, and inclusion,” he continued. “Continuing to observe a holiday built on the celebration of oppression runs counter to those values.”
Grosso also wrote that a majority of the D.C. Council has supported legislation that would rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day for “at least five years now” but it “has been stalled by Chairman Mendelson without any public input or hearing.”
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson's (D) office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on the matter.
Grosso’s bill now heads to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) desk for consideration. The measure’s passage arrived the same day Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed an executive order declaring the second Monday of October Indigenous Peoples' Day.