Oct 14, 2019

America's shift from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Many Americans got the day off Monday because of Columbus Day, but the federal holiday is instead being celebrated as Indigenous Peoples Day in many spots throughout the nation.

The big picture: Roughly 10 states and 100+ U.S. cities observe some version of Indigenous Peoples Day this month. Native American advocates have been working since the early 1990s to get states to make the swap, the AP reports.

The latest: As tensions over the holiday's original intention rise, Columbus statues in San Francisco and Providence, Rhode Island, were vandalized with red paint Monday, CNN reports.

  • "Vandals had chained a sign to the base of the statue that said 'Stop Celebrating Genocide' and spray painted the word 'Genocide' on the monument."

What they're saying:

  • "It's about celebrating people instead of thinking about somebody who actually caused genocide on a population or tried to cause the genocide of an entire population," Baley Champagne, tribal citizen of the United Houma Nation, told NPR.
  • "While Columbus Day affirms the story of a nation created by Europeans for Europeans, Indigenous Peoples Day emphasizes Native histories and Native people — an important addition to the country’s ever-evolving understanding of what it means to be American," writes historian Malinda Maynor Lowery.
  • The other side: "By renaming the holiday Indigenous People’s Day, they have decided to emphasize the sorrier aspects of Western colonization and conquest of the Americas rather than its virtues," writes Washington Post columnist Henry Olsen.

Go deeper: Memorial Day: The tangled backstory

Go deeper

Trump walks to historic St. John's Church outside White House as protests rage

President Trump walked to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, located just steps away from the White House across Lafayette Park, on Monday night as protests linked to the murder of George Floyd raged across the capital and cities around the country.

What we're seeing: Military police and park rangers used physical force and tear gas on peaceful protestors to clear the area so that Trump could "pay respects" to the church that was damaged by a fire on Sunday.

Trump threatens to deploy military amid national unrest

President Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden Monday evening that he is "mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military" to stop violent protests across the country, decrying "professional anarchists, looters, criminals, antifa and others" whose actions have "gripped" the nation.

The backdrop: Trump's announcement came as police clashed with protesters just outside of the White House, using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot," and other slogans. Flash bangs used outside the White House could be heard from the Rose Garden.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Autopsies say George Floyd's death was homicide

Police watch as demonstrators block a roadway while protesting the death of George Floyd in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

The latest: An updated official autopsy released by the Hennepin County medical examiner also determined that the manner of Floyd's death was "homicide," ruling it was caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdued, restraint, and neck compression."