This week, President Biden issued a proclamation marking Indigenous Peoples’ Day – the first time a US president had commemorated the holiday.
“On Indigenous Day, our nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty and commits to respecting the federal government’s trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations,” Biden wrote in the proclamation Friday. “Today, we recognize the resilience and strength of indigenous peoples as well as the immense positive impact they have had on all aspects of American society.”
The holiday has long been a pet project of activists accusing Christopher Columbus of genocide against Native American peoples and is strongly against his namesake.
Biden also marked Columbus Day on Friday, but – in an unusual move – included a long cut for his opponents in his statement.
“Today, we also recognize the painful story of wrongdoing and atrocities inflicted on many European explorers by tribal nations and indigenous societies,” Biden said. “For Indians, Western exploration ushered in a wave of destruction: violence against indigenous communities, displacement and theft of tribal homeland, the introduction and spread of disease, and more.”