Saturday, 16 December, 2017

Youth group kicks off Indigenous People's Week celebration

Editorial: Statues Of Limitations Letter: Columbus Day should be a national holiday
Spencer Simpson | 10 October, 2017, 00:28

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted this week to eliminate all references to Columbus Day as a county holiday, designating October 12 as Italian American Heritage Day and creating a new Indigenous Peoples Day.

In Denver, more than 500 people gathered to peacefully protest the lionization of Columbus during an Italian heritage parade.

On a municipal level, celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day is a shift adopted in some parts of the country. Here are some of the reasons why.

President Trump does not acknowledge Native Americans in his first proclamation of Columbus Day, breaking with his predecessor.

"We had a very hard time in this country for well over a hundred years", said Basil Russo, president of the Order Italian Sons and Daughters of America.

A national movement to replace the holiday is gaining momentum.

"It sucks that people actually have the audacity to do that and take away from a great town like us", said Destiny Rosado of Middletown.

While Henry thinks "there's room to observe (both days) side by side", he does hope that Tulsans celebrating Columbus or their European heritage will consider the message of Native American Day.

Nearly all schools are open on Columbus Day.

The notion of an Indigenous Peoples Day took root at an worldwide conference on discrimination sponsored by the United Nations in 1977.

Explaining the reasoning, Councilman Paul Lopez pointed to the Native American tribes of the Arapaho and Cheyenne, who used land on the site of what would eventually become the city.

"We gather during a teachable moment to discuss the ongoing impacts of that legacy and to commit ourselves to reversing them", the group said. "We do this because our history book erase such history".

Their stories didn't make the history that the winners wrote, but they too should be honored and appreciated.

Historians now see Columbus, who made four voyages across the ocean blue starting in 1492, as the starting point for European colonization. Demographics encourage different celebrations.

On Monday, Alaskans will honor the first permanent Indigenous Peoples Day, recognizing the first nations people and Alaska Native culture.

Detroit City Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-López will introduce a resolution at Tuesday's council meeting to change Columbus Day in Detroit to Indigenous Peoples Day.

In 2014, Minnesota's largest city renamed the holiday.

There's talk of changing the name of Columbus Circle and taking down the statue. A celebration meant to recognise and respect the proud traditions and customs of North America's great tribes, it was first marked in 1992, five centuries on from Columbus setting sail.

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