Establish Indigenous Peoples Day in Los Angeles
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This petition strongly supports eliminating Columbus Day in the city of Los Angeles, and establishing Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October. Indigenous peoples – including but not limited to the Tongva, Tataviam, and Chumash - have been in what is now the City of Los Angeles since time immemorial, yet still are not adequately recognized as its first peoples. The movement to recognize them and all indigenous peoples that now call Los Angeles home through the establishment of Indigenous Peoples Day offers the City of Los Angeles an opportunity to right this historic wrong.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day has been adopted in other cities (e.g. Seattle, Minneapolis, etc.) across the country as part of a larger movement that has rejected the celebration of Christopher Columbus. Columbus is a pivotal figure in the large-scale genocide and colonization of indigenous peoples in the Americas. That he was a cruel man with little regard for the value of human life is not hyperbole; it is clearly established in his own writings. The notion that Columbus discovered the Americas is historically inaccurate. Further, the popular idea that the Americas were largely open for the taking is built on the idea that indigenous peoples were less than human, and for that reason, the Americas were a “vacant” land. These ideas have no place in today’s contemporary society, and must be, once and for all, rejected. Columbus’ fraught legacy of enslavement, dispossession, exploitation, rape and torture should no longer be celebrated and codified by the city of Los Angeles.
Columbus’ legacy, for indigenous peoples today, continues to be one of devastation. Columbus’ actions have had negative consequences that have continued through the generations and still impact Native peoples. Today, Native Americans and indigenous peoples suffer the worst outcomes on almost every socio-economic indicator of well-being – including rates of poverty, high school completion, life expectancy, gender violence, youth suicides and representation in the child welfare and criminal justice systems. Native peoples are also the only group to still be treated as mascots and called derogatory names by major public figures.
The City of Los Angeles, home to the largest urban indigenous communities in the United States, has not only the opportunity, but the responsibility, to stand on the right side of history. To adopt Indigenous People’s Day is a step towards healing and reconciliation in Los Angeles that is so critically needed in today’s larger movement for racial equity and healing in this country.
We strongly urge the Los Angeles City Council to adopt Indigenous People’s Day on the second Monday of October and abolish the designation of that day as Columbus Day. By doing so, the city will be granting indigenous peoples the rights that all Americans deserve – the right to feel safe, respected and included as part of this country’s cultural and historical legacy.
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