Quantcast
Connect with us

Movement replacing Columbus Day with events honoring Native Americans gains steam around US

Published

on

About four miles from the world’s largest Christopher Columbus parade in midtown Manhattan on Monday, hundreds of Native Americans and their supporters will hold a sunrise prayer circle to honor ancestors who were slain or driven from their land.

The ceremony will begin the final day of a weekend “powwow” on Randall’s Island in New York’s East River, an event that features traditional dancing, story-telling and art.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Redhawk Native American Arts Council’s powwow is both a celebration of Native American culture and an unmistakable counterpoint to the parade, which many detractors say honors a man who symbolizes centuries of oppression of aboriginal people by Europeans.

Organizers hope to call attention to issues of social and economic injustice that have dogged Native Americans since Christopher Columbus led his path-finding expedition to the “New World” in 1492.

The powwow has been held for the past 20 years but never on Columbus Day. It is part of a drive by Native Americans and their supporters throughout the country, who are trying to rebrand Columbus Day as a holiday that honors indigenous people, rather than their European conquerors. Their efforts have been successful in several U.S. cities this year.

“The fact that America would honor this man is preposterous,” said Cliff Matias, lead organizer of the powwow and a lifelong Brooklyn resident who claims blood ties with Latin America’s Taino and Kichwa nations. “It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.”

But for many Italian Americans, who take pride in the explorer’s Italian roots, the holiday is a celebration of their heritage and role in building America. Many of them are among the strongest supporters of keeping the traditional holiday alive.

ADVERTISEMENT

Berkeley, California, was the first city to drop Columbus Day, replacing it in 1992 with Indigenous Peoples Day. The trend has gradually picked up steam across the country.

Last year, Minneapolis and Seattle became the first major U.S. cities to designate the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

This month, Portland, Oregon, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Bexar County, Texas, decided to eliminate Columbus Day and replace it with the new holiday. Oklahoma City is set for a vote on a similar proposal later this month.

ADVERTISEMENT

Columbus Day became a U.S. federal holiday in 1937. The federal government and about half of U.S. states give public employees paid leave, according to the Council of State Governments. Schools and government offices are generally closed, but many private businesses remain open.

Support for Indigenous Peoples Day has steadily risen in recent years, paralleling the growing perception that the wave of European settlement in the Western Hemisphere was genocidal to native populations.

ADVERTISEMENT

Gino Barichello, who attended Berkeley city council meetings in the 1990s that resulted in the establishment of Indigenous Peoples Day, said he viewed the trend with pride.

“To have a recognition and celebration of all the indigenous cultures of the U.S., and Berkeley being one of the catalysts leading that charge, is very exciting,” said Barichello, who says he is half Italian and half Muscogee, a Native American tribe based in Oklahoma.

New York City, with the country’s largest Italian American population at 1.9 million, attracts nearly 35,000 marchers and nearly 1 million spectators to its annual Columbus Day parade.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Columbus Citizens Foundation, a non-profit that organizes the parade, says on its website the event “celebrates the spirit of exploration and courage that inspired Christopher Columbus’s 1492 expedition and the important contributions Italian-Americans have made to the United States.”

John Viola, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Italian American Foundation, said renaming Columbus Day dishonors the country’s 25 million Italian Americans and their ancestors. He said Italian Americans feel slighted by cities that are dropping Columbus Day.

“By default, we’re like the collateral damage of this trend,” he said.

The foundation’s leadership council is scheduled later this month to take up the issue.

ADVERTISEMENT

One of the proposals expected to be floated at the meeting is to change the name to Italian American Day, taking the spotlight off Columbus and other European explorers. Under this proposal, Indigenous People Day would be celebrated on a different day.

“I think many people believe there could be a middle road,” Viola said.

(Editing by Frank McGurty and David Gregorio)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Virus outbreak in Houston-area nursing home kills 17

Published

on

A novel coronavirus outbreak at a Missouri City nursing home, outside of Houston, has killed 17 residents, according to data from state officials.

City officials issued a press release this week raising alarm over 19 deaths that they said occurred at the Paradigm at First Colony Nursing Home but nursing home officials told The Texas Tribune that the number is incorrect and declined to provide the correct number.

The city also reported that the facility has 24 infected staff members and the nursing home reported 11 currently infected residents who are in stable condition.

“This harrowing development speaks to the severity of this pandemic and how everyone needs to take it even more seriously,” said Missouri City Mayor Yolanda Ford of the outbreak in a Wednesday press release.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Gullible’ Trump administration paid up to $500 million too much for these ventilators: investigators

Published

on

Citing “evidence of fraud, waste, and abuse,” a congressional subcommittee investigating the federal government’s purchase of $646.7 million worth of Philips ventilators has asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to launch its own investigation of the deal.

The House subcommittee launched its review after ProPublica stories in March and April showed how a U.S. subsidiary of Royal Philips N.V. received millions in federal tax dollars years ago to develop a low-cost ventilator for pandemics but didn’t deliver it. Instead, as the coronavirus began spreading around the globe and U.S. hospitals were desperate for more, Philips was selling commercial versions of the government-funded ventilator overseas from its Pennsylvania factory. Then in April, despite having not fulfilled the initial contract, the Dutch company struck a much more lucrative deal to sell the government 43,000 ventilators for four times the price.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Pastor slams Trump for lying about a ‘dystopian dreamscape’ if Biden wins: ‘Pandering to the worst level’

Published

on

As President Donald Trump loses ground with evangelicals realizing he's not actually a Christian, the right-wing has scrambled with the only strategy they have: try to claim Joe Biden, a devout Catholic, is somehow not a Christian.

"Nobody ever would ever even think possible because he's following the radical left agenda," said Trump in Ohio. "Take away your guns. Destroy your Second Amendment. No religion, no anything. Hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He's against God."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image