Monday is the Columbus Day state and federal holiday in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, but also Indigenous Peoples' Day for more communities and the state of Maine.

Regardless of the name, the holiday comes with a variety of closures for offices, businesses, and schools, but a regular day for others.

Portsmouth will celebrate its first permanently-named Indigenous Peoples' Day after the City Council approved the renaming of the holiday at its July 11 meeting. The city referred to the holiday as Indigenous Peoples' Day in 2020, and used both names in 2021.

The vote on the permanent name came after Emily Stokel, Sophia Dmytruk, and Olivia Annunziata Blaisdell, members of Portsmouth High School's We Speak social justice club, spoke to the meeting and presented a petition with over 1,200 signatures in support of the change.

"Continuing to honor Columbus praises and pays homage to an uneducated and painful part of U.S. history," Annunziata Blaisdell told the council at the meeting.

Stokel said the intent of the name change is not to deny Italians a chance to celebrate their acceptance as immigrants.

"However, we need to be able to revise and rethink our past, present, and future treatment of others and our customs as we become more of our history," Stokel said. "Our intent truly is not to put two groups against each other, but to heal and embrace our native American population as part of Portsmouth. It does not feel right to honor someone who has inflicted so much harm on people who have such a major role in the fabric of the history of our city."

Portsmouth City Council,We Speak members Sophia Dmytruk (l.) and Olivia Annunziata Blaisdell (r.)
Portsmouth City Council,We Speak members Sophia Dmytruk (l.) and Olivia Annunziata Blaisdell (r.) (Olivia Annunziata Blaisdel)

A flag commemorating Dover's celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day will fly in front of Dover City Hall on Monday.  Mayor Robert Carrier joined leaders of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, Committee for Racial Equity and Inclusion members, other elected officials, and members of the public for a flag-raising ceremony Wednesday.

Indigenous Peoples' Day is celebrated in several other Seacoast communities.

Durham has called the day Indigenous Peoples' Day since 2017, and was joined by UNH in 2019.

Newmarket celebrates both holidays following a unanimous vote of the town council in 2018. During the meeting when the vote was taken, Councilor Casey Finch said that because the state and federal holiday is still "Columbus Day", it would be best to combine the names.

Exeter's Select Board in 2020 unanimously voted to change the name, as did the Oyster River school district in 2018.

Newburyport's city council approved a resolution in 2021 to rename the day.

Columbus Day was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1937, to commemorate the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. The Uniform Holiday Act took effect in 1971, and officially made the holiday the second Monday of every October.

All state agencies in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire will be closed on Monday. Most public schools are closed, but many colleges and universities are holding class as normal.

Check with your destination to make sure it is open or closed on Monday.


  • Post offices
  • State and federal courts
  • State offices
  • Many public schools


  • Financial markets
  • Banks (some banks are closed). Check your institution's schedule.
  • COAST buses and the MBTA  operate on a regular schedule.
  • Malls
  • Retail stores
  • FedEx and UPS will make regular pickups and deliveries
  • Most colleges and universities (check your institution's schedule)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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