Los Angeles City Council members have long debated what to rename Columbus Day.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation, is partial to renaming the day to Indigenous Peoples Day.
Councilman Joe Buscaino is voting to rename the day to Diversity Day as he didn't want Italian Americans to feel excluded or replaced.
Council President Herb Wesson says the issue has become very emotional for all sides.
“This is one of those issues where I think all [council] members will search their souls. Every one. I would anticipate that this vote will be a total gut-and-heart vote.”
Supporters of Columbus Day say the explorer should not be held responsible for the smallpox epidemic and the subjugation of the indigenous people.
However, Native American activists are praising O’Farrell for standing firm.
His plan would require the city to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October.
As part of that, the city would also celebrate Italian American Heritage Day on October 12th, the day of Columbus' initial arrival.
Buscaino has criticized that idea,saying council members should not “replace one culture for another.”
Two months ago he presented a plan to rename Columbus Day locally as Immigrant Heritage Day which would have pushed Indigenous Peoples Day to August or September.
That plan was supported by Council Members David Ryu, Gil Cedillo and Mitchell Englander.
But Native Americans responded angrily, calling the move disrespectful to them and their people.