Can Columbus Day and Indigenous People's Day co-exist?
Chicago enters the debate over whether or not to celebrate Christopher Columbus, a man whose legacy has turned sour. Chicago designated Monday as Indigenous People’s Day, to be celebrated in conjunction with Columbus Day. Sharing the day might sound like a judicious move, but some Italian Americans are not happy about it.
Increasingly, cities like Seattle and Minneapolis are designating Indigenous People’s Day to celebrate the contributions of Native Americans and acknowledge their hardships. Four states – Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota don’t celebrate Columbus Day at all.
“In his own words, he felt justified and permitted by divine permission to objectify the natives he first met, to enslave them and brutalize them,” said Vincent Romero, Executive Director of the American Indian Center of Chicago. “It is a huge reminder of how our people are marginalized and were not even seen as human beings.”