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
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading 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 later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.