Why more and more places are giving up Columbus Day

(The Conversation) – Columbus Day is increasingly giving people pause.

More and more cities across the country are choosing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day as an alternative to – or in addition to – the day commemorating the voyages of Columbus.

Critics of the change see it as just another example of a political correctness rampage – another flashpoint of the culture wars.

As a scholar of Native American history—and a member of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina—I know the story is more complex.

Indeed, the growing recognition and celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is the result of a concerted, decade-long effort to recognize the role of Indigenous Peoples in the nation’s history.

Why Columbus?

Columbus Day is a relatively new federal holiday.

In 1892, a joint resolution of Congress prompted President Benjamin Harrison to celebrate the “discovery of America by Columbus,” in part because of “the deep faith of the discoverer and because of the divine care and guidance that has guided our history and blessed our people so abundantly.” .”

Europeans invoked God’s will to impose their will on the native peoples. So it seemed logical to invoke God when a holiday was also instituted to celebrate this conquest.

Of course, not all Americans thought themselves blessed in 1892. That same year, a lynching forced black journalist Ida B. Wells to flee her hometown of Memphis. And while Ellis Island opened in January this year and welcomed European immigrants, a decade earlier Congress had banned Chinese immigration and exposed Chinese living in the US to widespread persecution.

And then there was the government’s philosophy toward the country’s Native Americans, which Army Colonel Richard Henry Pratt so memorably articulated in 1892: “All the Indians in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him and save the man.”

It was another 42 years before Columbus Day officially became a federal holiday, thanks to a 1934 executive order issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

He was responding in part to a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a national Catholic charity formed to support Catholic immigrants. Over time, his agenda expanded to include advocacy for Catholic social values ​​and education.

When Italians first arrived in the United States, they were the target of marginalization and discrimination. The official celebration of Christopher Columbus – an Italian Catholic – became a way to affirm the new racial order that would emerge in the United States in the 20th century, one in which the descendants of various ethnic European immigrants would become “white” Americans.

power of the indigenous people

But some Americans were beginning to wonder why the Native Americans — who have always been in the country — didn’t have their own holiday.

In the 1980s, the Colorado chapter of the American Indian Movement began protesting the celebration of Columbus Day. In 1989, activists in South Dakota persuaded the state to replace Columbus Day with Native American Day. Both states have large Native American populations that played an active role in the Red Power movement in the 1960s and 1970s, which aimed to make Native American people more politically visible.

Then, in 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage, Native Americans in Berkeley, California, organized the first “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” a holiday that the city council soon officially adopted. Berkeley has since replaced its commemoration of Columbus with a Native American celebration.

The holiday can also trace its origins to the United Nations. In 1977, indigenous leaders from around the world organized a United Nations conference in Geneva to promote indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. Their first recommendation was “to commemorate October 12, the day of the so-called ‘discovery’ of America, as the International Day of Solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.” of the United Nations on the rights of indigenous peoples has been officially recognised.

Unexpected allies

Today, cities with significant Native populations, such as Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles, celebrate either Native American Day or Indigenous Peoples Day. And states like Hawaii, Nevada, Minnesota, Alaska, and Maine have also officially recognized their native peoples with similar holidays. Many native governments, such as the Cherokee and Osage of Oklahoma, either do not observe Columbus Day or have replaced it with their own holiday.

But you’ll also find commemorations in less likely locations. Alabama celebrates Native American Day alongside Columbus Day, as does North Carolina, which has the largest number of Native Americans of any state east of the Mississippi River with a population of over 120,000.

In 2018, the city of Carrboro, North Carolina passed a resolution celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day. The resolution noted the fact that the town of 21,000 people was built on indigenous land and that it is committed to “protecting, respecting and fulfilling the full range of inherent human rights,” including those of indigenous peoples.

While Columbus Day affirms the history of a nation created by Europeans for Europeans, Indigenous Peoples Day emphasizes the history of Native Americans and indigenous peoples – an important addition to the country’s ever-evolving understanding of what it means to be American .

https://wgntv.com/news/trending/why-more-places-are-abandoning-columbus-day-in-favor-of-indigenous-peoples-day/ Why more and more places are giving up Columbus Day

Grace Reader

TheHitc is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@thehitc.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button