Massachusetts should establish 25 June as a state holiday honoring its Indigenous Peoples. These
days, it has become Politically Correct (PC) to refer to American Indians as Indigenous Peoples. Children
playing cowboys and Indians should now be said to be playing “Cowboys and Indigenous Peoples.”
The June 25th holiday could be called Sitting Bull Day to mark the anniversary of that
Indian chief decisively defeating George Custer and his troops at the Battle of Little Big Horn in South Dakota in 1876.
At the same time, Massachusetts should again declare October 11th to be Columbus Day, a holiday to honor the
discoverer of America and, more importantly, a day to honor the many contributions that scores of Italians have made to
“The great Lakota Indian warrior, Chief Sitting Bull, is perhaps best known in early American history
as the chief who defeated General Custer in 1876 at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
“Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho and other tribes set aside their differences in the face of intolerable
abuse by the U.S. Government, and their warriors were amassing in the thousands when General George Custer ordered his 700
soldiers of the 7th Cavalry of the United States Army to attack the Indian war party and his 700-troop regiment was
subsequently annihilated in the ensuing battle.
“History books describe Custer as a headstrong impulsive professional soldier who developed his
reputation as an ‘Indian fighter’ for leading bloody campaigns against the Kiowas and the Cheyennes on the southern plains -
but history records that some of General Custer's superiors and subordinates felt he lacked the judgement needed to defeat a
savvy tough Indian warrior like CHIEF SITTING BULL on the battlefield.
“By some historical accounts, Custer was aspiring to run for the office of president of the United
States, and saw this fight as an opportunity to seize more battle-field notoriety to enhance his military reputation and
“Custer is said to have disobeyed direct orders to hold up and meet with supporting troops to
coordinate an attack - instead, in what is believed to have been an attempt to be credited with winning the battle - Custer
pushed his men and horses to travel at a fast pace through two days and nights to beat supporting army regiments to the area,
and then Custer's men attacked the superior Indigenous forces on bad intelligence.
“The Indian warriors then countered Custer's attack and effectively sealed his place in history by
massacring him and his 700 soldiers on the battlefield. (Ref. 1)
On Columbus Day, 11 October 2021, Italian American citizens gathered in Christopher Columbus
Waterfront Park in the North End Section of Boston to celebrate their heritage and Columbus Day, which had been
stolen by the State of Massachusetts and the city of Boston and renamed Indigenous Peoples Day. The North End of
Boston has long been an Italian-American neighborhood, renowned for its numerous Italian eateries.
The park has been the epicenter of the cultural battle over the continued observance of Columbus and
his legacy. More than 100 people gathered in the park to hear about the cultural significance of Columbus for European
immigrants. Some time previous, the statue of Christopher Columbus that had long graced the park was vandalized and taken
down by the city. A member of the Italian American Alliance told the crowd that, “The symbolism of Columbus and
is about acceptance. The statue and his namesake represent acceptance of Italians and immigrants into the larger community
here in America.”
Christopher Columbus had been a controversial subject for years. Some Natives and other critics say
he brought death, illness and violence to the Native American peoples he found when he made his trip across the Atlantic Ocean
in 1492. Critics of Columbus had won a major victory the previous week when Boston’s Acting Mayor, Kim Janey, had canceled
Columbus Day in the city and signed an executive order to rename the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples Day.
The Sons and Daughters of Italy in America put out a statement decrying the move as “Acting
Mayor Janey’s erasure of Italian Americans.”
Boston had joined over two dozen Massachusetts communities and a handful of states including Vermont
and Maine that had traded out Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day.
Meanwhile, Native Americans held a rally that weekend on Boston Common to call on Massachusetts
Governor Charlie Baker to make Indigenous Peoples Day a statewide holiday. One Italian-American said that he supported Native
Americans being celebrated - just not at the expense of his cultural icons. He went on to say, “They’re taking our day as
opposed to picking a different day for celebration for themselves.” “I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive and don’t think
Christopher Columbus or Columbus Day is necessarily a hallmark of colonialism.”
History is complicated because people are complicated. Rarely will you find anyone who operates with
only one motive, and often not all of those motives are pure. Yet leftists want to condemn Christopher Columbus and the holiday
that bears his name because he wasn’t a perfect saint. To replace this evil colonizer, they want to celebrate the indigenous
peoples who enslaved each other, offered human sacrifice, and committed genocide.
Columbus, of course, discovered what Europeans would come to call the New World. He set out to find
gold, in large part to fund Christian evangelism and the reconquest of Jerusalem. On a voyage to what he thought would be
India, he instead landed in the Bahamas. The known world suddenly became much larger, and the Western value of courageous
exploration took root. On the other hand, Columbus’s men and subsequent explorers also committed atrocities and brought
disease. Obviously, his discovery wasn’t an unmarred good - little in history ever is.
Still, for much of our history, the only controversy about celebrating the 1492 landing of Columbus
and his three ships in the Caribbean was that a Viking named Lief Erickson discovered Newfoundland a few hundred years before
him. Then the “progressive” historical iconoclasts came along and insisted that Columbus was a racist who brought only death
to peaceful natives.
Dozens of cities have canceled Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Schools and other
places are removing any branding associated with Columbus. But that’s not all. “Several Columbus monuments have been attacked
and vandalized around the country.”
Ironically, history repeats itself: A century ago, the Ku Klux Klan behaved likewise due to
anti-Italian sentiments. They tore down statues and even lynched Italian Americans.
This year (2021), Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation naming today Indigenous
Peoples’ Day. “We must never forget,” he said, “the centuries-long campaign of violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror
wrought upon Native communities and Tribal Nations throughout our country.”
With a slight nod to the contributions of modern Italian Americans, Biden launched into anti-American
condemnation of “the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and
Indigenous communities.” He declared that “our greatness as a Nation” comes from the fact that he and his ilk keep reminding
us about “these shameful episodes of our past.”
Biden completely neglected any and all good brought about by European settlement in a place that was
millennia behind in terms of technology and culture. That is shameful.
A far better presidential model was Ronald Reagan, who once said: “Columbus is justly admired as a
brilliant navigator, a fearless man of action, a visionary who opened the eyes of an older world to an entirely new one. Above
all, he personifies a view of the world that many see as quintessentially American: not merely optimistic, but scornful of the
very notion of despair.” Patriots should help the next generation of Americans learn Reagan’s version of history instead of
parroting the historical revisionism of the Left who basically hate America.
If we are to honor America’s Indigenous Peoples with a special day named for them – as we have done
for other American groups: Italian Americans with Columbus Day, Irish Americans with St. Patrick’s Day,
and African Americans with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, then let it be done without dishonoring a prominent group of
Americans – our Italian
Americans – by removing the special day that was established to honor them. If there is to be an Indigenous Peoples Day, so
be it. But let it be done without taking away Columbus Day from our Italian American community and from all
- CHIEF SITTING BULL, Erin Tiernan, CALIFORNIA INDIAN EDUCATION, Accessed 12 October 2021.
- Christopher Contentious, Erin Tiernan, Boston Herald, 12 October 2021.
- Columbus Day vs. Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Nate Jackson, The Patriot Post, 11 October 2021.