BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — As several Massachusetts cities and towns begin celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day, many are pushing for Massachusetts to make the same decision.
Protesters marched in Boston Common on Saturday to demand that the Boston City Council and Mayor Marty Walsh officially declare the longstanding federal holiday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Activists that call for the name change cite that Columbus is widely criticized for his violence, killing and mistreatment of Native Americans.
The towns and cities that celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day currently include Somerville, Cambridge, Salem, Great Barrington, Amherst and Northampton. It is also observed state-wide in some areas, including Maine and Vermont.
WBZ NewRadio's Jim Mackay spoke with local residents in Boston about their views on the Christopher Columbus statue in the North End's Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, along with a potential name change for the park.
"This park used to be called Waterfront Park, and we really appreciated that," said Kathleen, a resident of the North End. "I think it should go back to that."
Another resident, Anne of the North End, said she believes all residents should have a say in the change.
“I think the name of it should be part of the community decision," she said.
The Christopher Columbus statue was beheaded by protesters during the summer and then removed by the city. The North End Waterfront Council decided during a meeting on Oct. 5 that the statue will now be repaired and put on display at the Knights of Columbus.
Mayor Marty Walsh said the city is working on a new statue for the North End that highlights contributions of the North End Italian immigrant community.
WBZ NewsRadio's Jim MacKay reports.