Charlottesville celebrates first Indigenous Peoples Day

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- For the first time, Charlottesville celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Christopher Columbus Day. Last month, the city council voted to recognize the holiday.

One woman with a deep Monacan heritage says this recognition is a step in the right direction.

“We have contributed so much to what people now think of as American history and we haven't been a part of that story,” said Karenne Wood.

More and more people want to recognize that Christopher Columbus may have sailed the ocean blue but he did not "discover" America in 1492. For decades, Native American activists have tried to get rid of Columbus Day.

In 1994, the United Nations declared the world's first Indigenous Peoples Day and now Charlottesville has joined in.

“We are now dignifying that Native people have been here all this time,” said Wood.

Woods explained that it is not about Columbus at all.

“It's about the recognition that all this time our people have been here and look how we were treated and look what's possible now,” she said.

Indigenous Peoples Day will be celebrated on the second Monday of every October going forward.

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