Obama’s Columbus Day Proclamation: History ‘Marred’ with ‘Violence, Disease, and Deprivation’

By Penny Starr | October 13, 2014 | 4:00pm EDT

Christopher Columbus comes to New World, 1492. (Library of Congress)

(CNSNew.com) - In a presidential action issued on Friday, proclaiming Oct. 13 as Columbus Day, President Barack Obama noted that a “new history” launched by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the new world included the history of American Indians, which he said is “marred with long and shameful chapters of violence, disease, and deprivation.”

“In a new world, a history was written,” said Obama’s proclamation, required by a 1934 Congressional Joint Resolution. “It tells the story of an idea – that all women and men are created equal – and a people's struggle to fulfill it.

“And it is a history shared by Native Americans, one marred with long and shameful chapters of violence, disease, and deprivation,” Obama said.

Calling Columbus “a son of Genoa, Italy,” Obama also used the proclamation to note the impact of immigrants in the United States.

“Like Columbus, these immigrants and their descendants have shaped the place where they landed,” Obama said. “Italian Americans have enriched our culture and strengthened our country.

“They have served with honor and distinction in our Armed Forces, and today, they embrace their rich heritage as leaders in our communities and pioneers of industry,” Obama said.

He also paid tribute to American Indians in his Columbus Day proclamation.

“And as we recognize the influence of Christopher Columbus, we also pay tribute to the legacy of Native Americans and our Government's commitment to strengthening their tribal sovereignty,” Obama said.

“We celebrate the long history of the American continents and the contributions of a diverse people, including those who have always called this land their home and those who crossed an ocean and risked their lives to do so,” he said.

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