US Observes Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day

The United States observes its Columbus Day holiday on Monday as well Indigenous Peoples Day. 

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

Recognition of the violence, disease and other suffering inflicted by European nations on the people already living in the Western Hemisphere has in recent years prompted a reevaluation of the holiday, including calls for its abolishment and new commemorations of indigenous populations. 

U.S. President Joe Biden last week issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day to be observed Monday.

“Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on tribal nations and indigenous communities,” Biden wrote. “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.” 

The northwestern state of Oregon is observing Indigenous Peoples Day for the first time Monday after the state legislature approved a bill to recognize it earlier this year. Oregon joins 12 other U.S. states to do so, along with South Dakota, which observes Native American Day. 

Monday brings the return of Columbus Day parades in New York and Chicago, large annual events that were canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Boston will host the Boston Marathon with some of the world’s elite runners on Monday. The event is not tied to any holiday, but was rescheduled from its traditional April running date this year also because of the pandemic. 

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press. 


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