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

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Andrew Cuomo uses N-word when discussing Italian Americans

Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the N-word Tuesday while quoting a New York Times editorial about racist language used historically against Italian Americans during an interview with radio station WAMC.

"The Times also said in an article the other day, apropos of nothing, they were talking about it. Going back to the Italian Americans because now you have me. They used an expression that southern Italians were called quote-unquote, and pardon my language, but I'm just quoting the Times, n----r w--ps. N-word w--ps as a derogatory comment."
Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019

Ilhan Omar criticized for "present" vote on Armenian genocide resolution

Rep. Ilhan Omar at a press conference. Photo: Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Armenian advocacy groups were irked that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was one of three members who voted "present" on a resolution that passed in the House on Tuesday, formally commemorating the 1915 Armenian mass killings as genocide, NBC News reports.

The big picture: The resolution, which received a 405-11 vote, represents a "forceful rebuke" by Congress against the Turkish government after the nation attacked the Kurds along the Turkish-Syrian border this month.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019

House backs sanctions on Turkey and recognizes Armenian genocide

Photos of Armenian intellectuals (L-R) Krikor Zohrab, Ruben Sevak, Daniel Varoujan, Komitas and Siamanto, who were among those arrested by Ottoman forces in 1915, at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, in Yerevan, Armenia'. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

The House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to recognize the mass killing of Armenians by Turkish nationalists during World War I as "genocide," hours after advancing a bill to impose sanctions on Turkey — which swiftly condemned the action.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019