Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The Seattle City Council adopted a resolution to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day, not Columbus Day. (Photo: Vanessa/flickr/cc)

The Seattle City Council adopted a resolution to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day, not Columbus Day. (Photo: Vanessa/flickr/cc)

'Taking Stand Against Racism and Discrimination,' Seattle Adopts Indigenous Peoples' Day

The second Monday in October will no longer be celebrated as Columbus Day in the city

Andrea Germanos

The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution to celebrate the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

While the day is marked federally as Columbus Day, the resolution states the newly recognized day will be an opportunity for the city "to celebrate the thriving cultures and values of the Indigenous Peoples of our region."

"The City of Seattle strongly encourages Seattle Public Schools to include the teaching of indigenous people's history," the text also notes.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant, one of the sponsors of the resolution, said at the Council meeting that it "is about more than just a name change. It is about educating ourselves and our children, about taking a stand against racism and discrimination."

"When Columbus arrived on this continent, there were an estimated 50 – 100 million indigenous people already living in what came to be known as the 'New World.' He did not embark on a simple voyage of exploration. It was always intended as a voyage of conquest and, ultimately, colonization."

Seattle "should not honor a man who played such a pivotal role in the worst genocide humankind has ever known," the socialist said.

In response to objections to those who felt the change would be an affront to Italian-Americans, Sawant said that the true Italian-Americans to be celebrated are those who engaged in struggles for social justice.

Bill Bigelow, Curriculum Editor of Rethinking Schools and co-editor of Rethinking Columbus, which offers resources for teaching about the impact of Columbus on the Americas, said he was delighted with Seattle's declaration.

"Too many children still learn the myth that Christopher Columbus discovered America. It's not a harmless story," he told Common Dreams.

"The Columbus myth erases the humanity of Indigenous Peoples and offers legitimacy to the notion that it's OK for big countries to bully little countries and for white people to dominate people of color. These are not values our children should learn. I hope Seattle's resolution inspires other cities and school districts to rethink Columbus and to honor Indigenous Peoples," Bigelow said.

The City Council move comes a week after the Seattle School Board made the same unanimous decision.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Fears of Escalation as Ukraine Answers Russian Missile Onslaught With Strike Deep Inside Invader's Territory

Ukrainian drones bombed two air bases more than 300 miles inside Russia, reportedly killing three soldiers, wounding four others, and damaging multiple warplanes.

Brett Wilkins ·


Patient Groups Push Congress to Combat Big Pharma Greed in Spending Bill

"As Congress works toward finalizing an end-of-year budget package, we urge the chambers to include bipartisan legislation to address abuse of the Food and Drug Administration's citizen petition process in order to reduce drug prices and save the government hundreds of millions of dollars."

Brett Wilkins ·


10,000+ Sign Open Letter Demanding Biden Order Paid Sick Leave for Railway Workers

"No one, especially in the world's richest nation, should have to choose between forgoing pay or working through severe illness and family emergencies," says The Lever's letter.

Jessica Corbett ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Signals Support for Anti-LGBTQ+ Reactionaries

"It does not bode well for the future of civil rights law that Gorsuch believes a state imposes 'reeducation training' on employers when it reminds them how to comply with nondiscrimination rules," said one court observer.

Julia Conley ·


Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of Summit

"Their 'solutions' are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment," said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo