‘There’s two sides to the story’ – The complicated history of Columbus Day

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Oct. 14 officially marked Columbus Day across most of the United States – a holiday to celebrate explorer Christopher Columbus.

But in certain areas around the country – including parts of New Jersey – the holiday has been changed to Indigenous Peoples Day. It is a day to celebrate the native people who were in North America before Columbus. Those who created the holiday say that it is also a way to expose what they say are negative actions Columbus is responsible for.

New Jerseyans walking near the Christopher Columbus statue in Jersey City’s Journal Square seemed to be mixed on the debate about Columbus.

“Well, he helped discover America, he was an explorer. Or course he was also an exploiter. So, I guess there's two sides to the story,” says one New Jersey resident.

RELATED: ‘Why should they take away our holiday?’ Italian-American group fights for Columbus Day 
RELATED: Princeton changes Columbus Day to ‘Indigenous People's Day’ 

The owner of a Moroccan food truck in Jersey City says that it is because of Columbus that he has the opportunities he has today.

“He came to America and because of him we have this country. It's great, we built it and we try hard,” the food truck owner says.

Those opposed to Columbus Day say that Columbus was cruel to the native people in North America, leading to many deaths.

Some say that while he didn’t really discover America, he should be recognized for his explorer skills.

“How are you going to discover something when people were already here? You can still give him credit because he sailed around the world. You gotta respect both,” said on Jersey City man.

In New Jersey, only Newark and Princeton celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.

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