Italian-Americans Defend Columbus Day

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In his 2014 Columbus Day proclamation, Obama reminded that "it is a history shared by Native Americans, one marred with long and shameful chapters of violence, disease, and deprivation" and that "we also pay tribute to the legacy of Native Americans".

Such re-evaluations don't change history, but they do change how we remember it.

However, Cliff Matias, cultural director of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council, said it's not about taking anything away from Italian-Americans.

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

Gonzales says Columbus Day marks the beginning of a period of time in the calendar year that can be painful for and insensitive toward native communities.

Berkeley's move of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day in 1992, was followed by multiple other localities including Santa Cruz, California; Dane County, Wisconsin; Minneapolis; Seattle; Missoula, Montana; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Denver; Phoenix; Iowa City, Iowa; Nashville, Tennessee; Ithaca, New York, among others.

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Accusations by some historians that the Italian explorer opened the Americas to enslavement, genocide and "cultural destruction" have led some USA cities to cancel local Columbus Day parades and other commemorations and rename the holiday Indigenous Peoples' Day.

"Indigenous Peoples Day represents a shift in consciousness", says Dr. Leo Killsback, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation and assistant professor of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University. "We think Columbus Day is a day that all people should honor and celebrate because of his accomplishments".

U.S. President Donald Trump has issued the annual U.S. proclamation for Columbus Day this Monday without any of his predecessor's misgivings about the holiday. But, as Indigenous Peoples Day shows, that doesn't mean the focus can't be shifted.

Gonzales says embracing Indigenous Peoples Day helps people and communities recognize positive contributions of native people. One of them was Los Angeles.

The Christopher Columbus Italian Society owns the statue, but the land belongs to the city.

"There are a lot of inaccuracies in our history", Green said. It is seen by Hispanics as a celebration of their culture, because of to the links between Columbus and the royal court of Spain and the subsequent Spanish colonization of much of South and Central America.

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