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WASHINGTON — In a proclamation to commemorate Christopher Columbus, President Donald Trump on Friday denounced “extremists” who seek to replace the discussion of Columbus’ vast contributions. The president’s proclamation was made in advance of Columbus Day, which is a national holiday to be commemorated on Monday, Oct. 12.

“Sadly, in recent years, radical activists have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy,” Trump said in the proclamation. “These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions.”

Many American Indians have sought for decades to change the Columbus Day name to Indigenous Peoples Day. American Indians see little value in honoring a man who they see as a greedy murderer who got lost and thought he was in India when he landed in the Americas.

In the aftermath of George Flyod's murder in Minneapolis. Christopher Columbus statues were toppled in several cities in the United States, including in the plaza outside the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. Minn. 

Trump, on the other hand, in early September 2020 signed an executive order to establish a commission to promote “patriotic education” to American school children.

“Together, we must safeguard our history and stop this new wave of iconoclasm by standing against those who spread hate and division,” Trump declared.

Trump’s proclamation echoes the tone he used during the presidential debate on Sept. 29. that denounced diversity training. He uses the same rhetoric during his rallies to energize his faithful. Trump said about diversity training programs programs “are grounded in the same type of revisionist history that is trying to erase Christopher Columbus from our national heritage.” 

In the meantime, American Indians will celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday concentrating on the vast contributions of tribal peoples across the United States.

Read the 2020 Columbus Day Proclamation.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. He can be reached at [email protected]