Newfoundland's 'Discovery Day' Holiday Is Being Changed But Now It Has 3 Different Names

Indigenous groups and leaders will help choose a name.
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Discovery Day Newfoundland Is Getting A Name Change

This holiday is getting a name change. Discovery Day Newfoundland will no longer be called that because it's not appropriate. For now, there's a temporary one in place before a permanent new one can be figured out through consultation with Indigenous leaders and organizations.

On June 18, Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial government decided that it was time to make a change regarding the holiday.

So, Discovery Day will now be referred to and recognized as the June Holiday. 

"The voices of people here locally and around the world are being heard. We have to ensure our communities reflect the people that live in them," said Premier Dwight Ball in a news release.

This comes after the province's NDP raised the issue of the holiday in the House of Assembly on June 15.

Before a new name is figured out, there will be consultations with Indigenous leaders and organizations.

According to the CBC, Premier Ball called Chief Mi'sel Joe of the Miawpukek First Nation before announcing the name change who said he welcomed it.

The provincial government is also open to working with community partners to make sure that memorials, statues and holidays across Newfoundland & Labrador are culturally-sensitive.

Before the name change, June 24 was known as Discovery Day and had been celebrated as a public holiday since 1939.

It originated from St. John the Baptist Day, a Christian holiday, and it's believed that John Cabot came ashore in the province on that day in 1497.

People have criticized the holiday because Cabot didn't actually discover Newfoundland & Labrador since Indigenous people were already living there.

"He hasn't discovered anything and we've always known and always said that," Chief Joe told the CBC.

Even though the provincial government made this change, others had already made the same move.

Memorial University in the province's capital changed it to June Day because the original name didn't recognize the historical realities.

Also, the city council in St. John's voted to refer to it as St. John's Day.

There have been calls to change the names of cities, streets and holidays in different parts of Canada because of their racist histories.

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