Columbus Day has long been a controversial holiday, with critics who say that rather than celebrate the colonialism and exploitation that came with the explorer's arrival in the Americas, we should commemorate the history and culture of America's indigenous peoples.

In 1992, Berkeley, California, became the first city to recognize the October date as Indigenous Peoples' Day. Since then, other cities have followed, honoring the people who lived on American land before Columbus arrived. 

Berkeley, California

In 1992 Berkeley, California, was the first city to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day.  (Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr)


On Oct. 13, 2014, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed a resolution designating the second Monday in October to be Indigenous Peoples' Day, instead of Columbus Day. Here, people cheer during Indigenous Peoples' Day celebrations at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center. (David Ryder AFP/Getty)

Anadarko, Oklahoma

Anadarko became the first municipality in Oklahoma to officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in lieu of Columbus Day. Pictured here: the 84th Annual American Indian Exposition Parade, an annual event sponsored by several Oklahoma tribes. (Colin Henderson/Flickr)

Lawrence, Kansas

Mayor Mike Amyx of Lawrence, Kansas, recently declared Oct. 12 to be Indigenous Peoples' Day. Lawrence was built upon the homelands of the Kansa and Osage people. The buffalo, like this one portrayed in Lawrence, are a symbol of Native American culture. (Patrick Emerson/Flickr)

St. Paul, Minnesota

In August, St. Paul passed a unanimous vote to recognize Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day. Here, protesters dance through St. Paul for an anti-tar sands event.  (Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)

Portland, Oregon

Portland City Council unanimously approved the designation of the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs hosted a Seniors Day Powwow in partnership with local students. (Spilyay Tymoo/Flickr)

South Tucson, Arizona

South Tucson, an enclave of Tucson, recently gave official recognition to Indigenous Peoples' Day. (Erin Whittaker/NPS/Flickr)

Olympia, Washington

In August, legislators in Olympia, Washington's capital, officially declared the second Monday of October to be Indigenous Peoples’ Day. (momo go/Flickr)

This article is part of our Next America: Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective.

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