"Christopher Columbus was a genocidal slave-trader", read one sign that a protester hung around the statue's neck.
Thirteen years later, in 1990, the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Ecuador passed a resolution changing Columbus Day into a celebration of Native Americans.
"Columbus symbolizes the genocide of nearly an entire race of people and I think its time people stand up against him", said Owen McGaff, a Plains Indian to ABC News.
Thirty-five thousand people are expected to march in Monday's Columbus Day parade in NY.
Seattle, Denver, Albuquerque and Los Angeles have also recently renamed the holiday, which is observed on the second Monday in October.
In last year's executive proclamation marking Indigenous People's Day, Vermont Gov. Peter Schumlin wrote the objective of the day is to recognize that the state "was founded and is built upon lands first inhabited by the Indigenous Peoples of this region". Across the country, 64 locations, from cities to universities to the states of Minnesota, Vermont and Alaska, have followed suit, mostly in the past three years.
Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937 through President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The marchers, who dubbed the protest "sinking Columbus", called for the October holiday to be broadly changed to Indigenous People's Day.
Italian-Americans consider Columbus a symbol of progress.
"Columbus Day is a day that we've chosen to celebrate who we are".
It contrasts with President Barack Obama's document nearly exactly a year earlier.
We spoke to Brian Cladoosby, president of the National Congress of American Indians, who said the USA doesn't teach the true history of Columbus' intent in coming to the Americas and also shed light on some of the atrocities he committed towards Native Americans.
Trump made no mention of Native Americans in his declaration.