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Christopher Columbus lives to sail another day in Virginia

Legislature declines to switch holiday to "Indigenous Peoples' Day"
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) on engraving from 1851. Engraved by I.W. Baumann and published in "The Book of the World," Germany.

It appears that Christopher Columbus has lived to sail another day in the commonwealth.

Before crossover at the General Assembly, the House Committee on Rules opted not to take up action on a measure, patroned by Del. Paul Krizek (D-Alexandria), to replace “Columbus Day” with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in the commonwealth.

As similar effort has been under way at the federal level, but has gained little traction.

The current holiday’s roots date back to 1934, when Congress called on President Franklin Roosevelt to issue a proclamation designating Oct. 12 as Columbus Day, perhaps in part as a recognition of the growing influence of Italian-Americans in politics.

Subsequent presidents continued to make the proclamation; in 1968, President Johnson signed legislation creating a federal holiday to begin in 1971. Since then, it has been observed on the second Monday in October.

In Virginia, politically polarized as the other 49 states, localities in left-leaning areas have begun interspersing the phrase Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day. But it is, and appears ready to remain for at least the time being, formally sanctioned as the latter in the Old Dominion.