Columbus Day and/or Indigenous Peoples Day?

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On October 8th, the Global Citizens Project Student Association screened the film Columbus Day Legacy at the Marshall Center. The film explores the tensions between the Native Americans and Italian Americans in Denver, Colorado, concerning the celebration of Columbus Day. This controversy is not localized to Denver. Across America, Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day are concurrently celebrated while the full impact of European settlement continues to be discussed.

To the Native Americans, the arrival of Europeans brought death, disease, and displacement. Was it intentional? Was it an unintentional consequence of two different cultures colliding? In 2010, the USF Libraries Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center sponsored a lecture by Benjamin Madley titled “The Question of Genocide in America: Meaning, Debate and New Frameworks.” It is a sobering look at deliberate choices and prevailing attitudes, and it underscores why the controversy of celebrating Columbus Day exists.

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