Has the fight against racism and discrimination changed the legacy of Christopher Columbus?

Columbus Day commemorates the discovery of America thanks to Christopher Columbus.  That's what they taught us in school, but is it still the same?

Columbus Day commemorates the discovery of America thanks to Christopher Columbus. That’s what they taught us in school, but is it still the same?

Photo: David McNew / Getty Images / Getty Images

President Joe Biden declared Friday, October 8, as the Day of the Indigenous Peoples, due, according to what he announced in the proclamation of this holiday in the US, because for generations the national policy sought to displace the natives and eradicate their culture.

“We recognize the endurance and strength of native populanceas well as the immeasurable positive impact they have had on all aspects of American society, ”Biden wrote.

The Indigenous Peoples Day beginning, in accordance with USA Today newspaper, in 1977, as a day of respect against discrimination. It is celebrated on the same day of La Raza, a holiday on which the landing of Christopher Columbus to America is celebrated, beginning the period of conquest.

It was in 1990 when International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations, began to discuss the possibility of replacing Columbus Day with the Day of Indigenous Peoples.

“Today we also recognize the painful history of grievances and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on tribal nations and indigenous communities,” said Biden, who spoke out for not burying such shameful episodes from the US past.

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It is the same argument as Les Begay, a member of Diné Nation and co-founder of the Illinois Indigenous Peoples Day Coalition gave during his speech on Monday, October 11:

“For more than 500 years, indigenous peoples have been fighting for their survival, their land and their rights. Every October, when Columbus is honored, it diminishes and erases even more the natives, their history and their culture ”.

Did Columbus Day and what Christopher Columbus symbolized change? Every year the controversy appears between groups of Native Americans who seek to support the Day of the Indigenous Peoples and those who seek to preserve the image of Colon as someone who came to open doors to other opportunities.

However, the president’s proclamation served as an impetus to focus the federal holiday that celebrates Christopher Columbus toward an appreciation of native peoples.

Chicago public schools, for example, have stopped commemorating the Columbus holiday. In total, there are 12 states and more than 130 local governments that have chosen not to celebrate Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The 11 states that celebrate this day through a proclamation include Arizona, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington DC.

The 10 states that officially celebrate it include Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, and Vermont.

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