SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The state of Oregon will recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day under a new bill passed by the Oregon Legislature.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that beginning with Monday, Oct. 11, the state will recognize that Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of the Americas is historically inaccurate and unworthy of celebration due to his voyage opening the door to “heinous crimes against humanity.”
HB 2526 passed the Oregon Senate on Tuesday with a vote of 22-7. It was approved by a 50-5 vote of the House late last month.
The bill was brought forth by the Legislature’s only Indigenous lawmakers, Rep. Tawna Sanchez, D-Portland, and Rep. Teresa Alonso-Leon, D-Woodburn.
“Back in 1937 Columbus Day became a federal holiday. While Oregon does not formally observe Columbus Day as a state holiday, it has been celebrated nationwide since 1971,” Sen. Majority Leader Rob Wagner said. “The state of Oregon will become the 11th state to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Our Indigenous people, language and cultures contribute incredible richness and vitality to the tapestry of the place we now call Oregon.”
Sen. Minority Leader Fred Girod spoke against the bill. Girod said that while this was a tough bill to vote no on, he felt it unnecessary to “trash” Columbus in the process.
“I happen to like history. That was a very brave individual that got in a boat to prove a theory that the world was round, and I just don’t think you needed to do that,” the Republican from Stayton said. “I wanted to remove that part of this bill, and that wasn’t done. Therefore, I’m going to vote no.”