Biden issues first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day
President Biden on Friday became the first sitting U.S. president to issue a presidential proclamation marking Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Biden’s move comes as one of the most recent efforts to boost the federal holiday and celebrate the contributions of Native peoples, according to The Associated Press.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is set to be celebrated on Monday — the same day as Columbus Day, the news outlet noted.
In the proclamation, Biden highlighted the resilience of Indigenous peoples as well as their ability to overcome.
“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” Biden wrote. “Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”
Biden also issued a separate proclamation on Friday acknowledging Columbus Day, in which he celebrated Italian Americans but also referred to the violence Columbus inflicted on Native communities during his time.
“Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities,” the proclamation stated. “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 the light, and we do all we can to address them.”
The president’s tone was significantly different from former President Trump’s 2020 proclamation of Columbus Day. Trump referred to Columbus as a “legendary figure” and blasted “radical activists” who “have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy.”
“These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions,” Trump said at the time. “Rather than learn from our history, this radical ideology and its adherents seek to revise it, deprive it of any splendor, and mark it as inherently sinister.”