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Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day celebrations in Pueblo

Posted at 5:08 PM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 19:08:31-04

PUEBLO, CO — Today is one of the most controversial days on the calendar each year. It is both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1937. There have been efforts, especially recently to replace it at the federal level with Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Last year President Biden declared Indigenous Peoples' Day a National holiday, but it is not a Federal holiday. All federal offices including here in Colorado are closed today for Columbus Day. Federal employees have the day off.

State workers in states like New Mexico, South Dakota, and Maine, plus Washington DC have the day off for Indigenous Peoples' Day, and state workers in Nebraska and Virginia have the day off for both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples' Day. Overall, state workers have today off in nearly half of the states in the country.

There is one state though that is an outlier nationwide, and that is our state, which does not celebrate Columbus Day. This is recent, as Governor Jared Polis signed a bill to remove Columbus Day as a State holiday two years ago.

It was replaced by Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Day, which is the first Monday in October, not the second. State workers in Colorado had last Monday off, not this Monday.

Indigenous Peoples' Day is celebrated locally in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Pueblo, Denver, and Fort Collins, but is not a state holiday.

In Pueblo Monday, both holidays were celebrated. This morning people gathered downtown to celebrate Italian heritage.

The annual Columbus Day ceremony took place at the Columbus Plaza in Mesa Junction. Jerry Carleo a man we spoke with says this day isn't only meant to celebrate Italians but all Americans.

"To show respect to our heritage and culture and our ancestors that work very very hard respecting that whole tradition and heritage etc, so that's the whole take away that's why it causes us to come back each year."

Earlier this afternoon an Indigenous Peoples' Day event happened at Mineral Palace Park. Organizers of the event say they used to protest the Columbus Day ceremony but they decided to have a celebration to honor all Indigenous people.

Tziavii-Taunigaduh Stevens said to News5, "I hope that people who aren't indigenous can come here with an open heart and an open mind and be willing to learn Indigenous struggles, our trials, and tribulations that we go through."

The organizers of the Indigenous Peoples' Day event plan to have the celebration next year and the years following as well.


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