Sand Creek
Native American Tribal member, Alan Fletcher, left, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, dons a traditional Native American headdress at the west steps of the Colorado Capitol, Dec. 03, 2014. Andy Cross—Denver Post/Getty Images

Denver Changes Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day

Oct 13, 2015

The Columbus Day backlash continues in full force, with Monday night's passage in Denver to proclaim the holiday as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

"Today is a very good day to live in Denver," Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez, who sponsored the proclamation, told a cheering, packed audience, reports the Denver Post.

Denver joins at least nine cities in refocusing Columbus Day—a federal holiday declared in 1937 to mark Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage to the Western Hemisphere—to celebrate indigenous natives who lived on the North American continent long before European explorers set foot. Critics argue that devoting a day to Columbus is not only misleading but celebrates a violent history of colonialism, enslavement, and discrimination.

Denver's proclamation noted that 48 Native American tribes call Colorado home, with the Denver metro area alone boasting descendants of about 100 groups.

Alaska also moved to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples' Day on Monday.

TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.