Biden is first president to mark Indigenous Peoples' Day

Friday's proclamation by President Joe Biden of the First-ever Presidential Proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day was a significant boost to efforts to refocus federal holidays celebrating Christopher Columbus towards an appreciation for native peoples.

Biden is first president to mark Indigenous Peoples' Day

This day will be observed along with Columbus Day which was established by Congress.

Biden stated in the proclamation on Indigenous Peoples Day that Federal policies have systematically attempted to assimilate Native peoples and eliminate Native cultures for generations. "Today we acknowledge the resilience and strength of Indigenous peoples as well as their immeasurable positive effect on all aspects American society."

Biden also proclamated Columbus Day. He praised the contributions of Italian Americans to American society. However, he also referred to the violence and harm that Columbus and other explorers caused on the Americas.

Biden wrote, "Today we also acknowledge and condone the terrible history of wrongs that European explorers have inflicted upon Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples." "It's a sign of our greatness as Nation that we don't seek to hide these shameful episodes from our past -- we face them honestly, bring them to light, and we address them as best we can."

This is a departure from President Donald Trump’s passionate defense of "intrepid heros" such as Columbus in his 2020 proclamation.

Trump stated at the time that "sadly, in recent years, extremist activists have tried to undermine Christopher Columbus’ legacy." "These extremists want to replace discussion about his vast contributions with talk about failings, his discoveries and his accomplishments with atrocities and transgressions."

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