LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles County celebrated the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples' Day, replacing Columbus Day, though the day remains a federal holiday.
A middle school student in south L.A. made a powerful statement about why that should end.
Jissel Vasquez is an eighth-grade student at George Washington Carver Middle School. Typically, a 13-year-old wouldn't be making headlines for simply walking into school, but it's how she arrived on Monday that made a statement.
In honor of her family's Native American heritage, Vasquez wore a sign that read, "He is no hero" to school, denouncing Christopher Columbus.
"I felt proud. I felt great. I felt confident," Vasquez said. "I did feel like a superhero. I wasn't nervous or worried for what they were going to tell me, but I just felt very proud."
Her red-painted hand had a unique significance.
"It means MMIW. Missing and murdered Indigenous women," she said.
This year, the Biden administration proclaimed Oct. 11 as Indigenous Peoples' Day, celebrating the contributions and resilience of America's first inhabitants and the tribal nations and cultures that continue to thrive today.
Vasquez said the fact that she made her own statement on campus felt good, and while it was well received, she's hoping more people may join her.