Goodbye, Columbus

    The federal and state governments are closed on Columbus Day. Many local governments in Maryland celebrate the holiday as well.

    But in Prince George’s County, next Monday will be the last official Columbus Day holiday ever.

    Not that there still won’t be a holiday on the second Monday in October. It will henceforth be known as Native American Day.

    “The native and indigenous peoples of Prince George’s County and the United States of America have contributed to every element of the rich fabric of history and culture in our communities,” County Councilman Mel Franklin (D), who introduced the bill changing the designation of the holiday, said in a statement Thursday. “Whether the Piscataway-Conoy tribe here in Prince George’s County or the many Native American tribes indigenous to every region of our nation, recognizing their place as the ‘First Americans’ is long overdue. Changing Columbus Day to Native American Day will not right many of the wrongs that our indigenous families have experienced throughout history, but it is an important step forward.”

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.