Some US States Marking Their First Indigenous Peoples’ Day

FILE - In this April 27, 2019 file photo, dancers enter at the Gathering of Nations, one of the world's largest gatherings of indigenous people in Albuquerque, N.M. A handful of states, including New Mexico and Maine, are celebrating their first Indigenous Peoples' Day as part of a trend to move away from a day honoring Christopher Columbus. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A handful of states are celebrating their first Indigenous Peoples’ Day as part of a trend to move away from a day honoring Christopher Columbus.

New Mexico is scheduled Monday to mark its statewide Indigenous Peoples’ Day with an invocation by several tribal leaders in unison in their Native languages. There also will be a parade and traditional dances at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

State offices in Maine also are scheduled to close in honor of the holiday. Maine, home to four federally recognized tribes, ditched Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous People’s Day with an April bill signing by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

Several states -from Minnesota to Vermont – have done away with Columbus Day celebrations in deference to Native Americans, though the federal Columbus holiday remains in place.

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