Partner and Colorado State Rep. Joseph Salazar Introduces Bill to Abolish Columbus Day and Replace with Indigenous Peoples Day

Second Regular Session Seventieth General Assembly STATE OF COLORADO


LLS NO. 16-0411.01 Kate Meyer x4348 HOUSE BILL





House Committees Senate Committee


  2. INDIGENOUS PEOPLESDAY HOLIDAY.Bill Summary(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced and does not reflect any amendments that may be subsequently adopted. If this bill passes third reading in the house of introduction, a bill summary that applies to the reengrossed version of this bill will be available at

    The bill replaces the legal holiday known as Columbus day with Indigenous Peoples’ day.

    1 Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:

    Shading denotes HOUSE amendment. Double underlining denotes SENATE amendment.

    Capital letters indicate new material to be added to existing statute. Dashes through the words indicate deletions from existing statute.

    1. SECTION 1. Legislative declaration. (1) The general assembly
    2. hereby finds, determines, and declares that:
    3. (a) In 1492, Christopher Columbus was given authority by the
    4. King and Queen of Spain to sail to the Indies to investigate what
    5. Columbus described as the “proper method of converting [Indians]” to
    6. Christianity. Columbus was granted “sufficient armament” to certain
    7. regions of the Indies for such forced conversion.
    8. (b) Columbus left Spain on May 12, 1492. He never arrived in the
    9. Indies, but came upon an island in the Caribbean later called Hispaniola
    10. on October 12, 1492, and met the Taino people.
    11. (c) Columbus remarked in Columbus’ Journal ofhis First Voyage
    12. that he could “conquer the whole of [the Taino people] with fifty men,
    13. and govern them as [he] pleased.” Columbus’ own journal demonstrates
    14. that his objective was to find gold and precious stones.
    15. (d) Under color of authority of the Spanish crown, and using
    16. tactics garnered from his years of involvement in the West African slave
    17. trade, Columbus engaged in inhumane acts of slavery, sexual
    18. exploitation, murder, and torture, which resulted in the annihilation of the
    19. Taino people.
    20. (e) Columbus’ acts of inhumanity were documented by Bartoleme
    21. de las Casas, a Spanish priest, who wrote in his journal:
    22. “And Spaniards have behaved in no other way during the
    23. past forty years, down to the present time, for they are still
    24. acting like ravening beasts, killing, terrorizing, afflicting,
    25. torturing, and destroying the native peoples, doing all this
    26. with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty,
    27. never seen or heard of before, and to such a degree that this
  1. Island of Hispaniola once so populous (having a population
  2. that I estimated to be more than three million), has now a
  3. population of barely two hundred persons.”
  4. “Their reason for killing and destroying such an
  5. infinite number of souls is that the Christians have an
  6. ultimate aim, which is to acquire gold, and to swell
  7. themselves with riches in a very brief time and thus rise to
  8. a high estate disproportionate to their merits. It should be
  9. kept in mind that their insatiable greed and ambition, the
  10. greatest ever seen in the world, is the cause of their
  11. villainies.”
  12. “They attacked the towns and spared neither the
  13. children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in
  14. childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them
  15. but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in a
  16. slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke
  17. of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his
  18. head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the
  19. pike.”
  20. (f) Columbus’ cruelty was investigated and he was sent back to
  21. Spain in chains, but because of the enormous wealth realized through his
  22. exploits, the Spanish Crown freed Columbus, stripped of all his titles, and
  23. allowed him to return to the Caribbean.
  24. (g) The Spanish conquest and exploitation of the indigenous
  25. peoples of the Americas was soon followed by other European nations.
  26. The Columbus voyage triggered one of history’s greatest slave trades,
  27. pillaging of Earth’s natural resources, and a level of inhumanity toward
  1. indigenous peoples that still exists today.
  2. (2) The general assembly further finds and declares that:
  3. (a) Despite all attempts by European and Western Hemisphere
  4. governments to eradicate indigenous peoples from the Americas, they
  5. have overcome such cruelty, exploitation, and inhumanity;
  6. (b) The vast contributions made through indigenous peoples’
  7. knowledge, science, philosophy, arts, and culture have enabled modern
  8. communities to develop and thrive, and should be recognized and valued;
  9. (c) A growing number of cities and states have renamed
  10. Columbus day, the second Monday of October, as Indigenous Peoples’
  11. day, creating an opportunity to promote appreciation, tolerance,
  12. understanding, friendship, and partnerships among indigenous peoples
  13. and all other persons; and
  14. (d) The State of Colorado recognizes the immeasurable
  15. contributions of the Italian-American and Spanish-American
  16. communities, which communities should be honored. However, the State
  17. of Colorado will not honor Christopher Columbus because of his
  18. well-documented crimes against humanity.
  19. (3) Therefore, in the pursuit of the goals and responsibilities of
  20. promoting knowledge about indigenous peoples, recognizing the
  21. atrocities perpetrated against indigenous peoples by Christopher
  22. Columbus and others, unifying communities, and combating prejudice
  23. and eliminating discrimination against indigenous peoples, it is
  24. appropriate to rename Columbus day as Indigenous Peoples’ day.
  25. SECTION 2. In Colorado Revised Statutes, 24-11-101, amend
  26. (1) as follows:
  27. 24-11-101. Legal holidays – effect. (1) The following days, viz:
    1. The first day of January, commonly called New Year’s day; the third
    2. Monday in January, which shall be observed as the birthday of Dr. Martin
    3. Luther King, Jr.; the third Monday in February, commonly called
    4. Washington-Lincoln day; the last Monday in May, commonly called
    5. Memorial day; the fourth day of July, commonly called Independence
    6. day; the first Monday in September, commonly called Labor day; the
    7. second Monday in October, commonly called Columbus INDIGENOUS
    8. PEOPLES‘ day; the eleventh day of November, commonly called Veterans’
    9. day; the fourth Thursday in November, commonly called Thanksgiving
    10. day; the twenty-fifth day of December, commonly called Christmas day;
    11. and any day appointed or recommended by the governor of this state or
    12. the president of the United States as a day of fasting or prayer or
    13. thanksgiving, are hereby declared to be legal holidays and shall, for all
    14. purposes whatsoever, as regards the presenting for payment or acceptance
    15. and the protesting and giving notice of the dishonor of bills of exchange,
    16. drafts, bank checks, promissorynotes, or other negotiable instruments and
    17. also for the holding of courts, be treated and considered as is the first day
    18. of the week commonly called Sunday.
    19. SECTION 3. In Colorado Revised Statutes, 5-1-301, amend (6)
    20. as follows:
    21. 5-1-301. General definitions. In addition to definitions appearing
    22. in subsequent articles, as used in this code, unless the context otherwise
    23. requires:
    24. (6) “Business day” means any calendar day except Sunday, New
    25. Year’s day, the third Monday in January observed as the birthday of Dr.
    26. Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington-Lincoln day, Memorial day,
    27. Independence day, Labor day, Columbus INDIGENOUS PEOPLES‘ day,
  1. Veterans’ day, Thanksgiving day, and Christmas day.
  2. SECTION 4. In Colorado Revised Statutes, 6-1-102, amend (2.5)
  3. as follows:
  4. 6-1-102. Definitions. As used in this article, unless the context
  5. otherwise requires:
  6. (2.5) “Business day” means any calendar day except Sunday, New
  7. Year’s day, the third Monday in January observed as the birthday of Dr.
  8. Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington-Lincoln day, Memorial day,
  9. Independence day, Labor day, Columbus INDIGENOUS PEOPLES‘ day,
  10. Veterans’ day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
  11. SECTION 5. Act subject to petition – effective date. This act
  12. takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the expiration of the
  13. ninety-day period after final adjournment of the general assembly(August
  14. 10, 2016, if adjournment sine die is on May 11, 2016); except that, if a
  15. referendum petition is filed pursuant to section 1 (3) of article V of the
  16. state constitution against this act or an item, section, or part of this act
  17. within such period, then the act, item, section, or part will not take effect
  18. unless approved by the people at the general election to be held in
  19. November 2016 and, in such case, will take effect on the date of the
  20. official declaration of the vote thereon by the governor.