Long Island debates merits of celebrating Columbus Day vs. Indigenous Peoples Day

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A growing movement across the nation is aiming at no longer celebrating Christopher Columbus and instead honoring indigenous communities.

From a parade in Manhattan to a festival in Farmingdale, people around New York celebrated their Italian heritage Monday. But over 500 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the debate rages on about whether the navigator's name should even be part of the holiday.

Native American groups and other critics advocate changing the holiday to something else, pointing to the adverse impact they say Columbus' discovery had on indigenous people.

Hofstra University's Center for Civic Engagement hosted an Indigenous Peoples Day event Monday.

"It's not meant to negate the history or belittle or discredit the long traditions of Italian-Americans in this country, right? If anything, it's to shed light on a broader history that very often is ignored," says Hofstra professor Mario Murillo.

In some areas, there has been compromise. After previously changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, the Southampton School District voted to rename it Indigenous Peoples Day/Italian Heritage Day.

 

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