Ivan F. Star Comes Out. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today

Ivan Star Comes Out: Our people should be celebrating Native American Day

Are most Indians celebrating Columbus Day instead of Native American Day in South Dakota?

Please research the history of Christopher Columbus and Indian genocide
By Ivan Star Comes Out
Native Sun News Today Columnist

For the 27th year (since 1990) the 2nd Monday of October turned out to be just another day for Pine Ridge. I believe taking the day off from work is more in observance of the federal holiday, Columbus Day, and not so much the state’s Native American’s Day. Also, every calendar I’ve seen, both in my home and elsewhere, indicate the 2nd Monday in October as “Columbus Day.”

Although I am not absolutely sure, there seems to be an underlying attitude of indifference toward Native American’s Day among the enrolled members of the relatively new Oglala Sioux Tribe. I expect such from conservative type non-Natives in the state but to hear it here among the residents of the Pine Ridge is a bit disheartening.

While U. S. citizens continue to celebrate the federal Columbus Day holiday, South Dakota legislatively replaced it with Native American Day in 1990. However, it appears “Indians” remain unresponsive. Am I wrong to say that most Natives are still celebrating this holiday as Columbus Day? Perhaps the appropriate question should focus on what it means to celebrate Native American’s Day?

Anyway, it appears a growing number of states and cities have legislatively replaced Columbus Day with Native American’s Day or Indigenous People’s Day. For whatever it is worth, I did a little research with a wide variety of sources, and thus provide a brief historical overview of the controversial federal holiday known as Columbus Day.

In 1493, the Vatican (Pope Alexander VI), issued a papal bull Intera-Caetera which divided the known world between Spain and Portugal. It also granted Christopher Columbus authority to establish Christian rule throughout his travels in the “new world.” He did so in a most unimaginable manner. A growing population is now beginning to “see” that Columbus took land that wasn’t his or the Vatican’s and exterminated millions of indigenous people in the process. Recent research places the percentage of Indians killed from 80 to 90 percent of the total population since his arrival. However, American school social studies or history classes do not discuss this fact.

Columbus Day was first celebrated in 1792 in New York commemorating the 300th anniversary of the historic landing in the Americas. Italian-Americans and Catholics organized religious ceremonies and parades in Christopher Columbus’ honor.

In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Americans to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ journey with patriotic festivities. He credited Columbus for “the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.”

In 1937, Congress established October 2nd as a federal holiday commemorating the landing of the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492 and celebrates Italian heritage. This holiday has since promoted the “discovery” of the new land.

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Ivan F. Star Comes Out can be reached at P.O. Box 147, Oglala, South Dakota, 57764; via phone at 605-867-2448 or via email at mato_nasula2@outlook.com.

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