Columbus Day Parade Held and Indigenous Peoples Day Recognized | Chicago News


In Chicago, the Columbus Day Parade took place on Monday.

It is also Indigenous Peoples Day.

Some organizations and governments are changing the way they observe the holidays, if at all, while many people still gather for the annual parade.

A crowd gathered for the 70th annual Columbus Day Parade in Chicago on Monday afternoon.

“I love my Italian heritage and just want to come to this parade and see the bands,” said contestant Julie Robilotta.

The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans organized the parade where more than 100 floats, marching bands and marchers lined State Street. The event is billed as a celebration of the voyage of Christopher Columbus and the Italian-American community.

“We are asking this great diversity in America to come celebrate with us their culture which is the heritage of Columbus, it is a nation of immigrants,” said Louis Rago, the parade grand marshal.

Rago has held this position since 1972.

“It’s a labor of love, and my whole family is involved,” he said.

Although Columbus Day remains a federal holiday, advocates have pushed the city, county and state to officially replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day.

“This is our land. The land you are on today is native land and it was stolen. It is important to recognize that indigenous peoples are here and we are still here,” Les Begay said. , one of the founders of Illinois Indigenous Peoples Day.

In Potawatomi Park, in the community of Rogers Park, the Indigenous Peoples Day Coalition came together alongside local and state officials to push for change.

“When we talk about the societies that have lived here for hundreds and thousands of years, all the Native Americans that unfortunately so many of us don’t talk about in our schools, it’s important to talk about this history of erasure for talk about the history of physical abuse and systemic abuse,” said Sen. Mike Simmons.

The organizers cite Columbus’ role in the genocide of the indigenous peoples.

“As I’ve said many times, it’s not anti-Italian, it’s anti-Columbus,” Begay said. “If it’s Italian pride you can have an Italian heritage day and we can gladly share that, but we can’t share the day with Columbus because of the crimes against the natives.”

Still, some members of Chicago’s Italian community are against replacing Columbus Day, saying the holiday is an important historical marker for Italian Americans.

“It will hurt a lot of people,” Rago said. “First of all, it will hurt the story because the reasoning just isn’t there.”

Phil Cassata and his family have been coming to the parade for over 15 years.

“If we’re going to go down this path, we’re going to have to change a lot of things in a lot of cultures,” Cassata said. “It was a time in our history when that was how things were done. We don’t agree with that now in today’s world, but I believe there are as many good as bad that came out in this time.

Several states have stopped celebrating Columbus Day. Locally, the City of Chicago removed Christopher Columbus status from Grant and Arrigo parks.

“Is it just celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day or watching how we talk about the history of Indigenous Peoples in our schools? People still talk about Native Americans like they’re gone and they’re still here,” Simmons said.


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