BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Second Tuesday in October is commonly known as Columbus Day -- but cities and towns across the state including Bangor and Portland are celebrating Indigenous People's Day for the first.

A group gathered in Bangor on Monday to celebrate and discuss the importance of recognizing the contributions indigenous people have made in the state.

The declaration unanimously passed by the city council in August has caused some controversy in the city -- including a small demonstration just this weekend.

But proponents say today was not a day for debate.

Darren Ranco, who is a member of the Penobscot Nation, took part on Monday celebrating. Ranco says this is a step in the right direction.

"I think it really reorient us towards actually this day having meaning for people … whereas I don't think anyone was really relating all that directly with Columbus his actions his sailing into the Carribean none of that I don't think have been the resonance for people I should think indigenous Peoples day are actually has a lot more resonance for Mainers and … for people in the United States I actually see this as a really positive thing moving forward." says Ranco.

Columbus Day has been observed since 1937.