Trump Leaves Native Americans Out of His Columbus Day Statement

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the media on South Lawn of the White House in Washington before his departure to Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S., October 7, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Trump’s Columbus Day statement included many kind words about the holiday’s honoree but made no mention of explorer’s impact on Native Americans.

Trump celebrated Christopher Columbus, in part, as a, “skilled navigator and man of faith, whose courageous feat brought together continents and has inspired countless others to pursue their dreams and convictions — even in the face of extreme doubt and tremendous adversity.”

His comments are a departure from statements made by some previous U.S. presidents, reports Fortune.

Both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton wove Native Americans into the narrative, with the former commenting that the arrival of Columbus wrought, “previously unseen disease, devastation, and violence,” among indigenous populations.

Historian David M. Perry further notes in a piece published by CNN, “[Columbus] also took slaves for display back home and to work in his conquered lands.”

The continued practice of dedicating a day to honor the 15th-century explorer is a point of contention in the U.S.

“At least 16 states, including Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon, don’t recognize Columbus Day as a public holiday,” notes CNN.

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