Monday, October 11, 2021

Indigenous Peoples' Day 2021

As an Italian-American (indeed a Ligurian-American), I don't feel that Christopher Columbus, a horrible person by all accounts (even his own) embodies the virtues that my contadini ancestors lived by, and brought to their new home.  Columbus Day was instituted in the US for interesting reasons, and was proclaimed a national holiday in 1934.

The European colonization of the Americas involved a crime so vast, it changed the climate of the planet... active genocidal campaigns and the passive onslaught of  'Old World' diseases largely depopulated North and South America.  Columbus kicked it all off with his numerous crimes against the Taino, and the indigenous peoples of the Americas are still suffering.  Women in indigenous communities in North America are often victims of violence, and Brazil's Bolsonaro has waged war on the nation's indigenous people.  Even Canada, gentle Canada, is grappling with its history of violence against First Nations peoples.

There are some encouraging developments, though, beginning with the issue over honoring Columbus with a national holiday.  The Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, the nation's first Native American cabinet secretary, has pledged to address issues faced by Native Americans, particularly the epidemic of violence against indigenous women.  The Biden Administration also restored the culturally significant Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to their original size after the former Maladministration reduced their size.  

The Biden Administration's treatment of Native Americans seems to mark a significant change for the better, even making an official proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day.  As always, we need to keep tabs on the government, and hold them to their promises, but at least there seems to be some hope for better conditions for our Native American population.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Thank you for the nice post.
I know very little about Liguria, but if you are a child of that place, they should be proud.

I do know a little about the public lands in Utah. We are so relieved. It almost feels too soon celebrate. Who knows what they will try next?
Last month i was visiting GrandStaircase NM. It is still beautiful.