a complete guide to helping your city or school join 200+
others that have conscientiously decided to rename Columbus Day
to Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Why rename Columbus Day?
If you've landed on this site, you probably already know that Columbus Day is a
flawed and offensive holiday.
You already know that Christopher Columbus never set foot on the North American continent, whereas
did so centuries before he was born, and other people did so 15k+ years before that.
If you still feel that a slaver, mass murderer,
who never set foot on this continent
should be one of only two people to have a U.S. holiday named after him, please
If you're ready for your city or school to join the growing list of conscientious others
that have already renamed Columbus Day to
Indigenous Peoples' Day,
this page will point you in the right direction.
How to rename Columbus Day
Help a bit:
Please take a few minutes to email your local
to make them aware of this issue. You can use this
, or simply explain why this
is important to you. If your city council currently has any receptive members,
your concern may be all it takes to spark change.
Help a lot:
What follows is a general map to renaming Columbus Day in
your city or school. Before embarking, do a quick web search to see if anyone in your community
has already tried to rename the holiday.
If so, it will be helpful to determine what they did, and how far they got.
But don't let any past/failed attempts deter you.
When it comes to guiding friends and neighbors to do the right thing,
it's just a matter of time before someone is successful.
The following are general steps to renaming Columbus Day anywhere. Please don't treat these as rigid directions
– you'll need to make adjustments as you go.
Step 1: Email your city/school leaders
This step you can do right now. Just find the website of your
local City Council
(or your school board) and email them about this issue. Here's some
Remember: Your city councilors work for you –
their job is to represent you – so don't be shy about letting them know what you're thinking.
On the other hand, don't be discouraged if you don't get an immediate reply, as it's just an email and they probably get many.
You'll at least be putting the issue on their radar and providing them with your contact info.
*Throughout this processes, be sure to keep records of all
communications. Having documentation will be useful to refer to
if others join your effort, or to include in an informational website, etc.
If you save your materials online, please consider sending us a link when
you're done, as we hope to offer more resources here over time.
Step 2: Attend a city council or school board meeting
Get your request on public record by attending a City Council (or school board) meeting to explain the importance
of renaming Columbus Day. You can do this during the meeting's "public comment" period. A schedule of
upcoming meetings should be on your City Council's website, along with an agenda for the next meeting. Search the
agenda for "public comment" or similar to determine the approximate time (usually near the beginning
of the meeting) and sign-up instructions. For live meetings, there's usually a sign-up sheet at
the meeting. Alternatively, there may be email/zoom instructions.
one example and another
of what you might say – but be sure to adjust that text so it feels right for you.
And don't worry about being a perfect public speaker – you can bring a prepared/written
speech, and simply read it. What's most important is getting your request on record.
Rest assured that what you're sharing will be much more important than
other things they hear.
And what you're sharing needs to be heard.
Step 3 (optional): Find some allies?
While you absolutely could do everything on your own, you'll likely have an easier time if you find
one or more friends/allies to work with. When City Councilors hear about the same issue from multiple people,
it carries more weight more quickly. You might try posting in a local/political Facebook group, or check
if there are any local Meetup groups where you might find like-minded community members. If not,
you might start your own Facebook or Meetup group for the duration of this project.
*Again, this is optional – don't get too sidetracked here. If you're in a small community,
it may be challenging to find like-minds. Whether as an individual or group, what's most important is
to keep up consistent communication with the city council and public.
**You might ask your allies/friends/supporters/Facebook/Meetup/etc to periodically send
emails like this
to all members of your local City Council.
Step 4 (ongoing): Keep speaking at meetings
Keep this issue fresh in the minds of your local City Councilors by speaking
regularly at meetings. There's no shortage of material to share about Christopher
Columbus, about what he did and didn't do, and reasons why we should instead be honoring
Indigenous People on the second Monday of October. You'll find plenty of material in the
"Resources" below, and on the
Note that what you're doing during the council meetings is educating.
Once people are aware of the real history behind Columbus Day, the reason for renaming it becomes
clear. Remember, all truth goes through three phases: it's 1) first ridiculed,
2) then vehemently opposed, 3) then accepted as obvious. So try to not get
too frustrated when some mock or oppose you. Regardless of initial reactions,
see yourself as helping inform friends who've been mis-educated.
Thinking people will soon understand, and others will eventually follow.
Step 5: Publicize the issue
If your initial efforts are being rejected or ignored, try getting more
public involvement. This can be as simple as emailing neighbors, posting flyers on bulletin boards, creating a
Facebook page or Meetup group, launching a simple website, and/or perhaps starting an online petition or survey.
And don't worry if it seems like more people are against renaming than for it at first.
This is a moral issue, so it doesn't matter how the majority would currently
Even petitions and surveys are mostly about educating. By creatively bringing
attention to this issue, you're getting people to question their long-unquestioned assumptions.
That will lead some to "self-correcting" those assumptions. And
don't be surprised if some of those eventually join you in the effort.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
– Margaret Mead
Very helpful templates
1) In 2018, two people who were renaming Columbus Day in their community documented the entire
process on a website. That website is now offline, but you'll find a reproducible
You're welcome to copy that entire website and customize it to your community. Feel free to keep or
change anything you want. Although that site makes references to its local indigenous history,
that aspect of the site can be adapted to any area of the United States – wherever you go in the US,
Indigenous Americans were once there.
2) That template also includes a
of steps that were taken, speeches that were given, and documents that were written.
You're welcome to use any of that material in your own renaming effort.
3) At the bottom of this current page, you'll also find recorded
City Council discussions that could be helpful in preparing for questions and concerns that your community
leaders/members may have.
P.S. A couple useful guides for advocates who would like to expand their knowledge can be found at
Obstacles you may encounter
(And why they shouldn't stop you)
Ignorance of historical facts
"It's a federal issue"
Alternate day suggestions
Native American day
Let's vote on it
Proclamation vs resolution
You can do this
Changing the name of a holiday may seem a big task, but just take it one step at a time.
If there are already community leaders thinking like you, this might turn out to be easier than expected.
However, even if you're just one person – and even if nobody joins you in the effort – you can still do this.
That's because you have something on your side that others don't – the truth. And truth is a very stubborn thing,
because it doesn't go away.
So just start taking steps in the right direction, and you
will be helping
everyone move in the right direction.
"You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."
– Martin Luther King Jr.
The first step
The first step is easy – you can do it right now. Just find the website of your
local city council,
or your school's decision makers, and send them an email. You can customize
or write your own personal message.
Note that full videos are below audio clips
Austin, Texas | Oct 5, 2017
Baltimore, MD | Sept 29, 2020
Boston, MA | Oct 7, 2021
Cambridge, MA | 5/26 and 6/6, 2016
Cincinnati, Ohio | Oct 3, 2018
Colorado Springs | Oct 13, 2020
Dallas, Texas | Oct 8, 2109
Denver, Colorado | Sept/Oct, 2016
Eugene, Oregon | Mar 14, 2016
Flagstaff, Arizona | Oct 2, 2018
Houston, Texas | Sept 29, 2020
Kansas City, Missouri | Oct 5, 2017
Long Beach, California | Oct 3, 2017
Los Angeles | Aug 30, 2017
Madison, Wisconsin | Oct 4, 2016
Minneapolis | Apr 25, 2014
Phoenix, Arizona | Oct 5, 2016
Portland, Oregon | Oct 7, 2015
Princeton, NJ | Sept 9, 2019
Reno, Nevada | Oct 2, 2019
San Francisco | Jan 23, 2018
San Luis Obispo, CA | Oct 3, 2017
Seattle, WA | Sept 2, 2014
S. Lake Tahoe, CA | June 18, 2019
Spokane, WA | Aug 29, 2019
Tacoma, Washington | Oct 2, 2018
Washington DC | Oct 8, 2019