Massachusetts Hangs On to Columbus Day Holiday – For Now
Columbus Day weekend is usually when many folks from the SouthCoast region head north to New Hampshire for some autumnal leaf-peeping. While the rest of the Granite State will still celebrate ol' Chris Columbus, you won't hear a mention of him in Portsmouth.
The Portsmouth, New Hampshire City Council has voted to dump Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous People Day. The idea has been kicked around in Massachusetts too, but so far, so good as far as Columbus is concerned.
Boston 25 News reports Portsmouth officials voted Monday "to drop recognition of the October holiday as Columbus Day following the efforts by the student-run social justice organization known as 'We Speak,' which has been pushing for the change since 2020."
The vote was 8-1, with opposing council member Beth Moreau saying she was concerned about "discounting Italian Heritage," according to Boston 25 News.
Former Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey signed an executive order on October 6, 2021, declaring the second Monday of October Indigenous Peoples Day in Boston instead of Columbus Day. At least 20 other Massachusetts communities celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, but none here on the SouthCoast.
The Massachusetts House referred legislation establishing Indigenous Peoples Day in Massachusetts to the Committee on Steering, Policy, and Scheduling on July 12, 2022. No members of the SouthCoast legislative delegation serve on that committee. The legislation doesn't appear to be going anywhere this session.
Massachusetts and New Hampshire will celebrate Columbus Day on Monday, October 10, 2022. Hopefully, gas prices will be affordable enough for leisurely leaf-peeping drives through both states.