Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day?


Columbus Day, the second Monday of October, was made a holiday in 1937 by President Roosevelt. In elementary school we all learned that America was discovered in 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. It makes for a good rhyme but we know he didn’t actually discover America. How could he have discovered a place people already lived? And how did this holiday come about?

The first recorded celebration of Columbus day was the 300th anniversary, October 12, 1792. It was held by the Society of St. Tammany, also known as the Columbian Order. Read more about the history here.

The movement to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day has gained momentum. Which makes choosing the right holiday to list in your planner design a little trickier. >>> Discover how to choose the right holiday for your planner. #copperbtmdesign


In 1977, a group of Native Americans proposed renaming Columbus Day, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” It wasn’t until 1992, the 500th Columbus Day anniversary, that the first city—Berkeley, CA—changed the name. The movement to rename the holiday gained momentum. It became a way to honor the damage done to the Native Americans by Columbus and other early settlers. Today, only 25 states list Columbus Day on their official states’ holiday lists. (source) And there are over 80 cities and states that have now officially changed the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Click here to see the entire list.

The official federal holiday name is still Columbus Day—President Obama’s proclamation in 2016 retains the name Columbus Day, but hopefully his inclusive words will help bring understanding and healing to this difficult topic.

As we mark this rich history, we must also acknowledge the pain and suffering reflected in the stories of Native Americans who had long resided on this land prior to the arrival of European newcomers. The past we share is marked by too many broken promises, as well as violence, deprivation, and disease. It is a history that we must recognize as we seek to build a brighter future -- side by side and with cooperation and mutual respect. We have made great progress together in recent years, and we will keep striving to maintain strong nation-to-nation relationships, strengthen tribal sovereignty, and help all our communities thrive. 

More than five centuries ago, one journey changed the trajectory of our world -- and today we recognize the spirit that Christopher Columbus's legacy inspired. As we reflect on the adventurers throughout history who charted new courses and sought new heights, let us remember the communities who suffered, and let us pay tribute to our heritage and embrace the multiculturalism that defines the American experience. 


Now that you know the history, which day will you choose to add to your planner design?

Keep in mind that when you are creating a calendar, it is important to list the federal holidays so people will know there won’t be mail and some offices and schools may be closed. However, it’s also important to remember the significance this holiday holds for different people and whether you should consider adding Indigenous Peoples’ Day to reflect your clientele.


We’ve got the perfect resource for you—Our Ultimate Holiday Guides. The Copper Bottom team personally curates this collection each year for our proofreading and planner design clients. And we don’t mess around! We triple proof each list to ensure each date is accurate—because we reference these lists with every planner we proof.

So stop wasting hours googling dates and holidays! Our Holiday Guides are available for 2019, 2020, and 2021 because we know you need to work far in advance.