October 14, 2019 will be the first official Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The second Monday of October, traditionally and federally labeled as Columbus Day, is now being celebrated as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. As well as being a city-recognized holiday, it is also a free parking day! Parking is free all day at curbside metered spaces and all municipal garages on Indigenous Peoples’ Day and all city-recognized holidays.
The Vermont legislature passed a bill that will aid cultural development of Vermont’s recognized tribes and allow indigenous people to move forward from the history of colonization. In May 2019, Governor Phil Scott signed the bill into law.
Other states and cities have taken similar steps to leave Columbus Day in the past. In February, the city of Sandusky, Ohio, changed its policy and now recognizes Election Day as a paid holiday for city employees so they can use the day to exercise their voting rights rather than Columbus Day.
Indigenous People’s Day celebrates and honors Native Americans, their history, and their culture.
Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937, a day meant to honor the Italian explorer who “discovered” the Americas on October 12, 1492, and to garner the support of voters with Italian heritage. The Columbus mythology is often the first introduction to encountering different cultures, ethnicities, and peoples for young American students. The shift to Indigenous People’s Day has resulted in more school age children being taught a range of perspectives on the day and that period in American history.