Bill would rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day

February 20, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A proposal to trade Maine’s state Columbus Day holiday for a tribute to Native Americans is moving forward.

The Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee voted in favor of the bill Wednesday. The bill faces further votes.

Democratic Rep. Benjamin Collings of Portland sponsored the bill renaming the state holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October to Indigenous Peoples Day.

At least five states have done away with celebrating explorer Christopher Columbus in deference to Native Americans, though the federal Columbus holiday remains. Communities including Bangor have adopted Indigenous Peoples Day.

Republican Rep. MaryAnne Kinney said some are concerned “eliminating” history could lead to repeating it.

Supporters say the change would be a teaching opportunity. Rep. Rena Newell, who represents Passamaquoddy Nation, said the bill would correct “long-standing history.”