US Commemorates Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day

The US on Monday (11/10) commemorated Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day.

Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1971 to celebrate the 1492 landing of Christopher Columbus on the Americas.

Recognition of the violence, disease and other suffering inflicted by Europeans on peoples who have settled in the Western Hemisphere in recent years has prompted a re-evaluation of this observance, including calls for its abolition and the establishment of a new memorial for indigenous peoples.

US President Joe Biden last week issued the first presidential proclamation on Indigenous Peoples Day which will be observed Monday (11/10).

President Joe Biden speaks with members of the press before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Washington, October 2, 2021.

President Joe Biden speaks with members of the press before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Washington, October 2, 2021.

“Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongdoing and atrocities caused by many European explorers to indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples,” Biden wrote. “This is a step towards our greatness as a nation where we don’t seek to bury our shameful past episodes, that we face them honestly, speak them out, and we do whatever we can to deal with them,” Biden wrote.

The state of Oregon marked Indigenous Peoples Day for the first time on Monday (11/10) after the state parliament approved a bill to recognize it earlier this year. Oregon joins 12 other states in doing so, along with South Dakota, in commemorating Native American Day.

Monday also brought the return of the Columbus Day marches in New York and Chicago, major annual events that were canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Boston held the Boston Marathon which was attended by some of the world’s elite runners on Monday (11/10). The event is not associated with any anniversaries, but was rescheduled from its regular event in April this year, also due to the pandemic. [uh/ab]

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