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Replace Columbus Day with Native American Day, lawmaker proposes

January 8, 2013 |  8:00 am

 Assemblyman Roger Hernandez has proposed to replace Columbus Day with Native American Day.A California lawmaker has proposed replacing  Columbus Day with Native American Day and making it a state holiday.

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D–West Covina) introduced a bill that would make the switch for the second Monday of October.The state stopped providing state workers with the day as a paid holiday a few years ago.

The day currently honors Christopher Columbus as an explorer who was instrumental in Europe's discovery of America. But others say that led to terrible times.

"Columbus Day is still recognized in California, despite the egregious actions taken against Native American people," Hernandez said in a statement.

A release issued by Hernandez's office said the legislation is "inspired by the recognition that the so-called discovery of the Americas by Columbus eventually led to the genocide of Native Americans. This bill hence provides the proper respect and recognition to our Native American nations."

AB 55 has already run into opposition in the Legislature from a lawmaker who believes Columbus should still be honored.

"As a proud fifth-generation Italian American, I support Columbus Day and the contributions of Italians to California," said Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton).


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina). Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press