Supes ditch Columbus, honor indigenous people

San Francisco supervisors today voted 10-1 to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day despite a last-minute effort to delay the vote in response to objections from some members of the city’s Italian-American community.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents the North Beach neighborhood, where the annual parade on Columbus Day has long since been renamed as the Italian Heritage parade, asked the board to postpone a vote on the resolution after receiving a large number of emails from constituents.

Peskin said:

“I would like some time to figure out a path forward that works for our indigenous native peoples as well as for folks of Italian heritage.”

However Supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced the name change legislation, pushed back against the continuance, saying the legislation had already been discussed in committee. The board ultimately voted 7-4 against the continuance before approving the name change over Peskin’s objections.

The vote was greeted with a mix of applause and loud boos from the audience.

Supervisor Norman Yee said he would like to honor both groups:

“I’d like to support something as follow-up legislation to also honor Italian American groups.”

Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday of every October.

Other cities including Berkeley have changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in recognition of objections by Native American groups to a celebration of European colonization.