The Los Angeles City Council voted 14-1 on August 30 to designate the second Monday in October as “Indigenous Peoples Day” on the city’s calendar, which will officially commemorate “indigenous, aboriginal and native people.” The new holiday will replace Columbus Day. The decision makes Los Angeles the latest jurisdiction to cave in to political correctness and eliminate the Columbus Day holiday.
The Los Angeles Times reported that L.A.’s Italian Americans expressed dismay over the council’s decision, telling council members it would erase a portion of their heritage. Some said they supported the creation of an Indigenous Peoples Day — as long as it is held on a different date.
“On behalf of the Italian community, we want to celebrate with you,” said Ann Potenza, president of Federated Italo-Americans of Southern California, speaking in a room packed with Native American activists. “We just don’t want it to be at the expense of Columbus Day.”
However, Potenza’s statement reflects a lack of understanding of what is behind the movement to eliminate Columbus Day. This agenda was made apparent by an objection to Potenza’s suggestion made by Chrissie Castro, vice chairwoman of the Los Angeles City-County Native American Indian Commission. Castro argued that city council members needed to “dismantle a state-sponsored celebration of genocide of indigenous peoples.”
“To make us celebrate on any other day would be a further injustice,” Castro said.
Councilman Joe Buscaino, who cast the sole vote against eliminating Columbus Day, is a first-generation Italian American raised in San Pedro. He suggested a compromise by replacing Columbus Day with a different name, one that celebrates “all of the diverse cultures in the city.” Buscaino recalled that many had forgotten the prejudice faced by Italian Americans in the United States — and asked his colleagues not to “cure one offense with another.”
“All of our individual cultures matter,” said Buscaino.
The movement to eradicate Columbus Day (and indeed, all things named after Columbus) has been growing in strength in recent years, thanks to efforts by leftist radicals to brand the long-respected explorer as being responsible for a host of cruelties inflicted upon the native populations of the New World. (This, despite the obvious logical flaw that Columbus did not set out from Spain to enslave American Indians, because he was ignorant of their very existence.)
In The New American article “Why the Left Hates Columbus,” writer Steve Byas quoted Katy Schumaker, a classics and letters professor at the University of Oklahoma, who repeated the leftist propaganda that has fueled the anti-Columbus agenda in recent years:
There are plenty of other people who came and “found” the Americas before Columbus did. I think that even if Columbus isn’t necessarily important as the person to discover the new world, his voyage, and then further, Spanish and Portuguese settlements, set up a chain reaction that made the Americas what they are today. Things like slavery, the decimation of native populations, all of those things were initiated by that first contact.
In making the above statement, Schumaker employed the classic logical fallacy in blaming Columbus for the mistreatment of native Americans and African slaves decades after he made his voyages — Post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this.”)
The Times reporter — perhaps inadvertently — came close to recognizing that there was more behind the movement to remove Columbus Day than meets the eye, by observing in his report: “Activists have been pushing for the removal of statues honoring military leaders who served the Confederacy.” By making this comment, the reporter obviously thought that those seeking to remove the Confederate statues and those seeking to end Columbus Day shared relevant things in common.
We reported exactly who these “activists” were in several reports in August, noting that one person arrested for vandalizing a Confederate stature in Durham, North Carolina, was a member of Workers World Party (WWP), which on its own website, describes itself as “a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party dedicated to organizing and fighting for a socialist revolution in the United States and around the world.”
As we reported in an article last October, the assault on Columbus Day has been going on for decades. Those who understand the anti-American sentiment that has long prevailed at the United Nations will not be surprised to learn that back in 1977, the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the UN in Geneva, began to discuss replacing Columbus Day in the United States with a celebration to be known as Indigenous Peoples Day.
In an article posted by The New American last year, “Attacking America: Columbus Day Being Replaced With ‘Indigenous Peoples Day,’” Selwyn Duke commented on the anti-Western Civilization mentality behind the calls to end Columbus Day:
While the inroads made by the anti-Columbus Day movement are news, the mentality driving it is nothing new. It’s the same thinking that decades ago already led to the chant “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go” and has long instigated the steady denuding of our Western cultural landscape. And while it has a foundation in an emotion-based antipathy for the West, it also reflects moral confusion and intellectual bankruptcy.
Duke went on to observe that “one complaint against Columbus Day and so, so many other things, is that they reflect a Western perspective.” To which he countered: “The truth is that we’re supposed to have a Western perspective because we’re a Western civilization — and that we should thank God, and some dead white males, that we are.”
We observed in our article last October that our American civilization is an extension of “Western Christian civilization,” brought to America from Europe by our colonial and immigrant forefathers. The transplant of that civilization was made possible by explorers such as Columbus, and Cabot, and Hudson, and Verrazzano and missionaries such as Father Junipero Serra. This historic fact greatly bothers the enemies of Western Christian (sometimes called Judeo-Christian) Civilization because they intend to destroy that civilization and the historical memory of all who were responsible for bringing it to America.
While we cannot know the exact motivations of each member of the Los Angeles city council who voted to replace Columbus Day with “Indigenous Peoples Day,” but we know that through their votes they have helped further the agenda of the enemies of our Western civilization and culture.