Into the sea of battles that don’t need to be fought comes the latest effort to wipe out those historical figures who more current history has deemed less than perfect.
The latest target? Christopher Columbus, of course. Already statues of the man who set foot on this continent in 1492 are under fire — especially in New York, where Mayor Bill DeBlasio has called for a 90-day review of “all symbols of hate” in the city. But also targeted is the day set aside in October to celebrate his arrival in the New World.
Now for many Americans, the second Monday in October represents simply another long weekend at a particularly lovely time of year for parades or leaf peeping. For Italian-Americans, Columbus Day has long represented a celebration of their proud heritage and of their acceptance, not without its own struggles, into the American mainstream.
But there are those who today consider this celebration of the arrival of Columbus on these shores, as Chrissie Castro of the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission put it, “a state-sponsored celebration of genocide of indigenous people.”
So henceforth in Los Angeles by vote of the City Council the second Monday in October will be Indigenous Peoples Day as it is in Seattle, Albuquerque, Denver and most recently Bangor, Maine. [Minneapolis and St. Paul also observe Indigenous People’s Day.]
Prior to the L.A. vote, the head of an Italian-American group pleaded with Native Americans present saying, “We want to celebrate with you.”
But there is no compromise with those bent on emphasizing that which divides rather than unites us.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE BOSTON HERALD