Biden's proclamation signifies a formal adoption of a day that a growing number of states and cities have come to acknowledge. Last week, Boston joined Arizona, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., and several other states in dedicating a second Monday in October to Indigenous Peoples' Day. Native Americans have borne the brunt of the work to make that happen.
Many state and local governments have gone a step further. More than a dozen states and well over 100 cities celebrate the day, with many of them having altogether dropped the holiday honoring Columbus to replace it with Indigenous Peoples' Day.
What might seem to some like a simple name change can lead to real social progress for Indigenous Americans, said Van Heuvelen.
"What these changes accomplish, piece by piece, is visibility for Native people in the United States," she said. "Until Native people are or are fully seen in our society and in everyday life, we can't accomplish those bigger changes. As long as Native people remain invisible, it's much more easier for people to look past those real issues and those real concerns within those communities."
What about Columbus Day?
Columbus Day remains a federal holiday that gives federal government employees the day off from work.
The day was first founded as a way to appreciate the mistreatment of Italian Americans, and Congress eventually made it a federal holiday in 1934.
"Italian American culture is important, and I think there are other times and places to recognize that. But I think it's also important to also recognize the history of Columbus Day itself," said Baca. "Should we recognize a man whose labors killed children, killed women and decimated the Native American population here? I don't think that is something that we want to be honored."
Monday marks Oregon's first statewide recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day, in place of Columbus Day, after its legislature passed a bill brought by its Indigenous lawmakers. Rep. Tawna Sanchez, one of those lawmakers, says the movement to recognize the day is an ideal time to capitalize on the momentum of political recognition.