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Indigenious People's Day and National Monuments

Typically, on the second Monday of every October since 1971, the holiday known as “Columbus Day” is observed. However, October 11th of 2021 was celebrated as “Indigenous People’s Day.” President Biden has recently declared this change due to years of campaigning and to honor the original inhabitants of America. Biden stated, “Since time immemorial, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians have built vibrant and diverse cultures- safeguarding land, language, spirit, knowledge, and tradition across generations.” This change in holiday has been a response of years of outcry regarding the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed towards the native dwellers in his expeditions

Continuing his previous comments,“for Native Americans, western exploration ushered in a wave of devastation: violence perpetrated against Native communities, displacement and theft of Tribal homelands, the introduction and spread of disease, and more. On this day, we recognize this painful past and recommit ourselves to investing in Native communities, upholding our solemn and sacred commitments to Tribal Sovereignty, and pursuing a brighter future centered on dignity, respect, justice, and opportunity for all people.” Biden noted that Italian Americans deserve praise for their roles in American history and society, but Columbus Day had to be renamed due to the harm that Columbus had brought to the natives of the Americas. “It is a measure of our greatness as a Nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past-that we face them honestly, we bring them to light, and we do all we can to address them.” These comments sharply contrast with President Trump’s comments, calling Columbus an “intrepid hero,” in his defense of the holiday in 2020.

Biden recently declared that the Biden administration will put back protections that President Trump took away for the Bear's Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. During the Trump administration, protections for thousands of acres were revoked for the use of mining, commercial fishing, and more developments. These recent changes have been, in Biden’s own words: “the easiest thing I’ve ever done as president.”

These two changes have been huge wins for the indigenous community with their monuments and the return of their land’s protected status, along with national recognition of a holiday commemorating their history as people instead of a holiday celebrating a man that committed many atrocities. Acts like these highlight the Biden administration’s willingness to conserve, protect, and restore a huge group of Americans that have been previously put in harm's way.

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