The Seattle City Council has voted to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day to "reflect reflect that Native Americans were living on the continent before Christopher Columbus' 15th Century arrival."
The Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, was expected to sign the measure. Seattle is the second "major" city to change the name of the holiday. Minneapolis was the first. The change will take effect for
Columbus Day Indigenous People's Day on October 13, 2014.
The legislation acknowledges that Native Americans were already living in the Americas before Columbus' arrival and says Seattle, named after a Native American tribal chief, was built atop indigenous peoples' homes.
"Nobody discovered Seattle, Washington," Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp told the council. "This action will allow us to bring into future and present a day honoring our rich history."
The decision to change the name came under fire from Italian Americans.
"Italians are intensely offended," Seattle native Lisa Marchese told the council. "For decades, Italian-Americans celebrated not the man, but the symbol of Columbus Day. That symbol means we honor the legacy of our ancestors who immigrated to Seattle, overcame poverty, a language barrier, and above all, discrimination."
Other Italian-Americans urged the council to designate a day separate from the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.