Protesters: Columbus Day a celebration of genocide


"Columbus symbolizes the genocide of nearly an entire race of people and I think its time people stand up against him", said Owen McGaff, a Plains Indian to ABC News.

"It's not about taking anything away from Italian-Americans, said Cliff Matias, cultural director of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council, which is hosting a "Re-Thinking Columbus Day" event Sunday and Monday in New York City".

A statue of Columbus was defaced in New York City's Central Park in September with the words "hate will not be tolerated".

The first Columbus Day celebration recorded in the United States happened in NY in 1792 to honor Italian American heritage.

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In last year's executive proclamation marking Indigenous People's Day, Vermont Gov. Peter Schumlin wrote the objective of the day is to recognize that the state "was founded and is built upon lands first inhabited by the Indigenous Peoples of this region".

The school recently designated the second Monday in October as "Indigenous Peoples' Day", the same day that the school recognizes Columbus Day, The Harvard Crimson reports.

It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century but did not become a federal holiday until 1937.

But while more and more cities are adopting a change to Indigenous People's day, not everyone likes dumping Columbus. The Italian explorer didn't reach North America, which by that time, was inhabited by Native Americans.

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Italian-Americans consider Columbus a symbol of progress.

Many people see the holiday as a celebration of Italian heritage as much as a celebration of the explorer.

Trump made no mention of Native Americans in his declaration.

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