America’s default observance of Columbus Day, a holiday whose prominence came in part through Italian and Catholic American groups’ advocacy during an earlier era of toxic nativism, is being challenged now more than ever. In 2015, as the Think Progress graphic below attests, more American cities are embracing calls to officicially recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day or Native American Day in place of Columbus Day:
Actions like those taken in these cities—and all of California—come on the back of significant activism and popular resistance in the past few years, epitomized by the popularity of hashtags like "#RethinkColumbusDay," which has tremendous momentum on social media today as people share photos from actions against Columbus Day, quotes about resistance and liberation, and all manner of thoughts on how this nation engages with Columbus’s genocidal legacy:
— Alejo Marcos Cochise (@AlejoCochise) October 12, 2015
— Angelique Arroyo (@AngeliqueARR0Y0) October 12, 2015
— WHAT’S UP?! (@endwhitesilence) October 10, 2015
To help you celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we have two videos for you. The first is a one we posted on five years ago, created by a coalition of groups who dissect Columbus’s crimes against humanity—crimes that, were they uncovered today, would justify a UN tribunal:
The second of these videos comes from celebrated Indian-American comic Hari Kondabolu, who offered his own perspective on Columbus Day in a 2012 bit from the now defunct "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell" (whose host, W. Kamau Bell, is a former board member of Race Forward, Colorlines’s parent organization). Coming out strong by calling Columbus "a demon" and pointing out how Columbus is the reason people ask him if he’s "Indian from India," Kondabolu suggests an alternate hero for Italian Americans to honor—one with zero career genocides:
How are you honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day? Let us know in the comments!