Italian American Leaders Stunned and Offended by President Joe Biden’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day Proclamation

Last Friday, President Joe Biden proclaimed that Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day would be celebrated on the same date, Oct. 11. 

President Biden did not consult with Italian American leaders prior to the controversial announcement, so in response, The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO) sent this urgent letter to The White House calling for a meeting. 

Indigenous Peoples should have their day to acknowledge their invaluable contributions, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the Italian American culture. 

Columbus’s symbolic rise began in 1892, after 11 innocent Italian immigrants were lynched in the streets of New Orleans in front of more than 5,000 people (it was just one of more than 40 documented lynchings of Italians in the U.S. during the “Great Arrival”).

To fight this crushing discrimination — and to fuel assimilation — Columbus statues and parades were created. But today, in the eyes of the Indigenous movement, Columbus monuments and celebrations have become synonymous with hate and enslavement.  

It’s ironic, and it’s a shame that Italian American history is ignored in today’s news cycle, especially given the past actions of other cultures. Consider the following: 

  • George Washington was a slave owner, yet he remains an American icon. 
  • Columbus never owned a slave; he never ordered the mass killing of Indigenous Peoples and he even adopted a Taino boy who he treated like a son. 

“It’s time for us to either hold every historical figure and group under a 21st-century microscope, or it’s time for us to discuss the hypocrisy and begin to work together to spark new inter-cultural communication and collaboration that seeks to honor the history of all sides, not just those conveniently selected by politicians,” said COPOMIAO President Basil M. Russo

4 thoughts on “Italian American Leaders Stunned and Offended by President Joe Biden’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day Proclamation

  1. So that I agree with Mr. Basil M. Russo, the president of the major Italian-American organizations however our US President Joe Biden should apologize to us, the Italian-Americans in our Italian-American communities across our country for his offensive offending to our Italian American communities by proclaiming Ingenious People’s Day to replace on Columbus Day in October 2021.—That hurting me but makes me very upset at my honestly. In a fact, I am the Second Generation Italian American citizen in my D’Auria Family on American soil. Christa D’Auria

  2. History cannot be dimmed or obliterated, ever, by acts of vandalism. Removing statue(s) of Columbus is in fact nothing more than manifested vandalism, none of which would/could ever change the course of history. Columbus was instrumental in the discovery of the Americas. He brought civilization to the new world and enslaved no one. He should be honored, respected, and remembered in awe.
    By his act, President Biden has shown a total disrespect of Italian culture and Italian-American people.
    His act will not be forgotten.

    1. Well I really agree with you. Christoper Columbus is our historic symbol of new discovery of the New World to bring the new civilization to America in our Italian American history in reality. We honor our celebration of Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. In his future, the US President Joe Biden will have regrets aftermath. We, the Italian- Americans vow to fight back to reclaim Columbus Day and restoration of Columbus statues across our country to be restore proclamation of Columbus Day for our future for our Italian American generations in our Italian American communities in our America in 21 st Century society. Italian American history and Italian American Heritage should be taught in colleges, universities, and in American educational systems as our American public should be educated in fact. Christa D’Auria

  3. It’s a disgrace and a rejection towards the Italian heritage and contribution to this land don’t ever forget this misrepresentation toward us Italians

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