Biden Marks Columbus, Indigenous Peoples' Days

President acknowledges atrocities committed by European explorers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 8, 2021 1:45 PM CDT
Biden Marks Columbus, Indigenous Peoples' Days
A makeshift memorial for the dozens of Indigenous children who died more than a century ago while attending a boarding school has been established in a park in Albuquerque, NM. Mayor Tim Keller plans to sign a resolution acknowledging the trauma inflicted on Native Americans on Indigenous Peoples' Day.   (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

President Joe Biden on Friday issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, lending the most significant boost yet to efforts to refocus the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus toward an appreciation of native peoples. The day will be observed on Oct. 11, along with Columbus Day, which is established by Congress, the AP reports. "For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures," Biden wrote in the Indigenous Peoples' Day proclamation. "Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society."

In a separate Columbus Day proclamation, Biden praised the role of Italian Americans in US society, but also referenced the violence and harm Columbus and other explorers of the age brought about on the Americas. "Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities," the proclamation said. "It is a measure of our greatness as a Nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past—that we face them honestly, we bring them to the light, and we do all we can to address them." It's a break from former President Donald Trump's ardent defense of "intrepid heroes" like Columbus in his 2020 proclamation of the holiday.

(Read more Indigenous People's Day stories.)

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