Bill targets Columbus Day

October 09, 2017 05:22 PM

ALBANY - Some in the Capital Region celebrated Christopher Columbus - and the day honoring him - with songs and speeches at the American Italian Heritage Museum

"He made the new world known to the old world.  The world changed forever.  Very few times in history does a person make that kind of change," explains Philip DiNovo, the Director of the American Italian Heritage Museum. 

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In New York City, in front of a controversial statue of Columbus, there was a very different scene.  Instead of highlighting the explorer's feats, Brooklyn Assembly Member Charles Barron highlighted a new bill he just introduced that would re-name Columbus Day Indigenous People's Day.

"We should not have a holiday for the enslavement of African people, for the slaughtring of indigenous people, the stealing of their lands.  We should not be glorifying murderers," explains Barron (D - Brooklyn).

Renaming the day, according to Barron, properly recognizes Native Americans for their contributions to our country.

"We should tell the truth. about American history.  Tell our children the truth and stop feeding our children lies."

Back at the American Italian Heritage Museum, the hope is that neither history is ignored and both can be honored

"Let's celebrate their day separate from Columbus Day and let's look at history in its total," adds DiNovo.

It's a one house bill and Barron is the sole sponsor.  Fifty municipalities and Alaska, Vermont, South Dakota and Minnesota have made the switch to Indigenous People's Day.


Abigail Bleck

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