WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day on Friday, providing the most significant impetus to date in efforts to refocus the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus towards a peoples appreciation indigenous.
Biden also issued a Columbus Day proclamation on Monday, October 11, which is established by Congress.
“For generations, federal policies have systematically sought to assimilate and displace Indigenous peoples and eradicate Indigenous cultures,” Biden wrote in the proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day. “Today, we recognize the resilience and strength of Indigenous peoples and the immeasurable positive impact they have had on all aspects of American society.”
In a separate Columbus Day proclamation, Biden praised the role of Italian Americans in American society, but also referred to the violence and damage that Columbus and other explorers of the day wrought on the Americas. .
“Today we also recognize the painful history of the 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 from our past – that we face them honestly, that we bring them to light and do all we can to remedy them. “
It is a break with President Donald Trump’s ardent defense of “fearless heroes” like Columbus in his proclamation of the holiday in 2020.
“Sadly, in recent years radical activists have sought to undermine the legacy of Christopher Columbus,” Trump said at the time. “These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with discussions of his failures, his discoveries with atrocities, and his accomplishments with transgressions. “
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