Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) claimed Christopher Columbus is a “genocidal maniac” and should not have a federal holiday in his honor.
She tweeted on Monday, “Today should just be [Indigenous People Day.] And yet this day is still shared with a genocidal maniac.”
Velázquez added, “We need to take this time to reflect on the brutal history of violence against Indigenous peoples in America and recognize that there is still a lot of work to repair this harm.”
Today should just be #IndigenousPeopleDay.
And yet this day is still shared with a genocidal maniac.
We need to take this time to reflect on the brutal history of violence against Indigenous peoples in America and recognize that there is still a lot of work to repair this harm.
— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) October 11, 2021
Other Democratic lawmakers spoke out against the celebration of Columbus, including Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).
He tweeted, “Millions of indigenous people lost their lives during the genocide committed against them in the Americas. Today we pause in solemn recognition of this human tragedy. And recommit to uplift the original occupants of this land.”
Millions of indigenous people lost their lives during the genocide committed against them in the Americas.
Today we pause in solemn recognition of this human tragedy.
And recommit to uplift the original occupants of this land.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) October 11, 2021
Several Republican lawmakers took to Twitter to celebrate Columbus Day.
Happy Columbus Day, America! pic.twitter.com/msngZU2jNs
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) October 11, 2021
Happy Columbus Day, yes, I said Columbus Day, like the way we've all been saying it before America went woke.
Stop whitewashing history! https://t.co/qZlqwJSxFw
— Congressman Byron Donalds (@RepDonaldsPress) October 11, 2021
HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY!
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) October 11, 2021
Happy Columbus Day! pic.twitter.com/SgIXARwrHr
— Rep. Kay Granger (@RepKayGranger) October 11, 2021
Happy Columbus Day! pic.twitter.com/aAKfmAErMO
— Congresswoman Kat Cammack (@RepKatCammack) October 11, 2021
On Friday, President Joe Biden became the first president to issue a presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
He wrote in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamation, “For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures.”
Biden continued, “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.”
In a separate Columbus Day proclamation, the president acknowledged “the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities.”
He added, “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.”
Biden’s message carries a different tone than that of former President Donald Trump’s from Columbus Day 2020.
“Sadly, in recent years, radical activists 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.
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