A record number of states and municipalities on Monday are celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day.
Arizona and Virginia observed Indigenous Peoples Day — the second Monday in October — for the first time this year, joining a dozen other states and Washington, D.C.
In recent years, support for celebrating the histories and cultures of Native Americans instead of Christopher Columbus has increased steadily, with many arguing that his brutal treatment of Indigenous people should not be glorified.
The idea for Indigenous Peoples Day was first introduced in 1977 at a United Nations conference. In 1989, South Dakota was the first state to formally designate the day as something other than Columbus Day, celebrating it as Native American Day.
Indigenous Peoples Day is now observed by 14 states and D.C., as well as more than 130 cities.
The new commemorations in Arizona and Virginia were established through gubernatorial proclamations from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D).
In a Columbus Day proclamation, Trump did not mention Indigenous Peoples Day by name, but stated, “[s]adly, in recent years, radical activists have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy. These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions.”
Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1971. Officially recognized by Congress, federal holidays usually prompt the temporary closure of nonessential government offices, though states can decide whether to recognize the holiday.