In honor of this year’s Columbus Day Holiday and Indigenous Peoples’ Day (October 10th), Team AgLearn is providing resources to encourage learning and reflection about these important annual commemorations.
The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the United States took place on October 12, 1792. Organized by the Society of St. Tammany, also known as the Columbian Order, it commemorated the 300th anniversary of Columbus’ landing.
The 400th anniversary of the event inspired the first official Columbus Day holiday in the United States. President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation in 1892, “recommending to the people the observance in all their localities of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America…” and describing Columbus as “the pioneer of progress and enlightenment.” Since then, school programs, plays, and community festivities have been organized across the country in celebration of Columbus Day.
In the early 20th century Columbus Day became associated with Italian American pride. In recent comments about the relationship between the holiday and the importance of Italian immigrants on US culture and society, President Biden noted, “Many Italians would follow his [Columbus’s] path in the centuries to come, risking poverty, starvation, and death in pursuit of a better life. Today, millions of Italian Americans continue to enrich our country’s traditions and culture and make lasting contributions to our Nation — they are educators, health care workers, scientists, first responders, military service members, and public servants, among so many other vital roles.”
In recent years Columbus Day has been celebrated side by side with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, an annual recognition of the ongoing survival of people Indigenous to the land now known as the United States. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2021 President Biden stated, “Since time immemorial, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians have built vibrant and diverse cultures — safeguarding land, language, spirit, knowledge, and tradition across the generations. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, our Nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations.”
- More information about the Columbus Day Holiday External Link
- More information about Indigenous Peoples’ Day External Link
(LinkedIn Learning and Percipio content is accessible for USDA Federal Employees Only)
- Video: The meaning of color across cultures External Link
- Course: Equity First: The Path to Inclusion and Belonging External Link
- Course: Empowering BIPOC through Mentorship External Link
- Book Summary: Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World External Link
- Book: Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance External Link
- Audiobook: An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States: Revisioning American History External Link