New Mexico bill to rename Columbus Day clears hurdle

January 30, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico proposal that would trade the Columbus Day holiday for a tribute to Native Americans instead has cleared another hurdle.

The New Mexico House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee unanimously passed Tuesday a measure to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Sandia Pueblo tribal member and Democratic state Rep. Derrick Lente sponsored the bill that renames the state holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October.

He says the tribute to explorer Christopher Columbus should be dropped in a state with 23 designated Native American communities.

But Republican Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell says she was concerned the attempt to rename Columbus Day was linked to the effort to remove Confederate Monuments.

At least five states have done away with Columbus Day celebration in deference to Native Americans, though the federal Columbus holiday remains in place.