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Monday Maine Will Celebrate Its First Official Indigenous Peoples Day

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Mal Leary
/
Maine Public
Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill in April changing the designation.

Maine will celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day for the first time Monday, since the Democratic-controlled Legislature and Gov. Janet Mills changed the holiday from Columbus Day.

Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1937, but a growing number of states and municipalities have moved to exclude mention of the Italian explorer, citing his mistreatment of native people and that he never stepped foot in what is now the United States. Maine and Vermont joined the change ranks this year, replacing Columbus Day with holidays honoring Native Americans. South Dakota adopted the first such change in 1990, calling it Native American Day.

Other states are using Indigenous Peoples Day, but with varying uses of a possessive apostrophe in the word "peoples." Maine’s law includes no apostrophe.