Oregon House Votes to Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.

The bill passed 50-5 and now awaits a Senate vote.

Tawna Sanchez Rep. Tawna Sanchez at a 2020 legislative breakfast. (Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County) (Motoya Nakamura)

Earlier this month, the Oregon House of Representatives voted to make Juneteenth a state holiday. Now it’s asked the Senate to recognize another: Indigenous People’s Day.

On April 26, the Oregon House passed House Bill 2526, which would replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day on the second Monday of October.

“Now is the time to tell the truth about yet another old lie in our history books and recognize that the native people of this country and the state of Oregon are the original people,” said Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland), one of the chief sponsors of the bill.

The bill passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support—50-5—and will head to the Senate.

This is the second House bill that recognizes a holiday celebrating the history of Oregon’s people of color. Early in April, state representatives voted to make Juneteenth—a holiday commemorating the emancipation of Black people from slavery—a state holiday. Both bills await a vote in the Senate, historically the Legislature’s slower and more conservative chamber.

If state senators pass it, Oregon would become the 14th U.S. state to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day. (Portland switched in 2015.)

“Today we recognize the Nine Confederated Tribes and honor the land native communities across the country have always called home,” Rep. Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn) said.

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