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After weeks of protests, Columbus Day passes with none

Columbus Day Crowds

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- In the midst of a fierce debate over the future of the Christopher Columbus Plaza on Abriendo Avenue, Pueblo's Italian community came together for the 115th annual Columbus Day Celebration.

However, Columbus Day 2020 had a different look: no protesters.

For decades, protesters from Pueblo's indigenous communities came out to the bust of Christopher Columbus across from the Rawlings library every holiday to chant and call for its removal. The protesters believe the Columbus figure is racist against indigenous heritage and culture.

This also stems from more than a dozen straight weeks of protests at the statue every Sunday. Some even led to violence and arrests.

However, this year's Columbus Day was abnormally quiet.

“We’re not hearing [protesters], isn’t it great?" asked Geno Carleo with the Sons of Italy Pueblo Chapter when he took to the podium Monday morning. "This is the way it was supposed to be every year.”

The local indigenous community agreed to peacefully protest the statue on Sunday, instead of Columbus Day. However, over the weekend, some people vandalized the statue with red paint and tomatoes.

“We’ve had some conversations with police it appears to be just one or two individuals," said Jerry Carleo, also with the Pueblo Chapter of the Sons of Italy. "People are going to be people. The takeaway was there is no permanent damage to the monument; it’s all good.”

Carleo disputes the historical beliefs presented by the indigenous community and their fellow protesters, but he said Columbus Day is about keeping their Italian tradition alive.

Earlier this year, the Colorado state legislature voted to no longer recognize Columbus Day as a holiday, and replace it with Cabrini Day one week earlier. Columbus Day is still recognized as a federal holiday.

However, this didn’t seem to alter the festivities Monday morning.

“What did they rename it? Cabrini Day?" said Carleo. "Cabrini Day is not an official federal holiday so that’s not what’s going on here. What’s going on here is the continuation of more than 100 years of continued tradition and celebration about what has resulted in the foundation of America.”

As the debate over the bust rages on, mediation between the city, Sons of Italy, and indigenous communities continues.

Carleo with the Sons of Italy tells KRDO he’s confident in the direction the mediation is heading.

Carleo says the city of Pueblo is considering a 'multi-cultural center' in front of the Rawlings Library, which would include the Columbus bust, as well as statues representing the Indigenous community and black community.

Local News / Pueblo

Dan Beedie

Dan is a bureau reporter based out of Pueblo. Learn more about Dan here.

Comments

6 Comments

  1. Opinions. Clearly everyone has them, most are reserved in sharing them, and few decide to share them. Far too often, I keep hearing we shouldn’t update our history to, you know be historically accurate, but I disagree. But before I delve down that rabbit-hole, I want to first state that I appreciate everyone’s opinions, even the ones that I do not agree with. Instead of merely believing I am going to have a one-sided argument, please take the time first to read what I wrote, digest, and think about it, then if you are still wanting to reply, please do so.

    I am going to talk about the historical inaccuracies of St. Patrick’s day. You all know this holiday, the day where everyone acts like everyone is Irish, drinking green beer or a shot of whiskey, and eating Corned beef and cabbage, But what is the reason for the celebration.

    Seeing how we celebrate should lend some credence as to why we celebrate this date, but why? well the real St. Patrick was actually born Maewyn Succat in Banna Venta Berniae, a town in Roman Britain in the late 300’s AD. He had many names, but we will keep this simple and continue calling him by his most well known Moniker, Patrick.

    Patrick’s father was a deacon of an early Christian church. Patrick was in Brittan and was not a follower of Christianity until after he was abducted by Irish Pirates when Patrick was 16. He was enslaves as a shepherd for six years. During that time he learned the language and the culture, it was also this time he converted to Christianity. Patrick escaped.

    Patrick was captured again, only this time by the French. This is where he learned about monasticism, before he was released to go back to his home, Britain. He continued his studies in Christianity, until he had a vision to bring Christianity to the Irish people. The Irish were viewed as pagan and druidic at the time, so he wanted to convert them.

    So he went back to Ireland and began attempting to convert them, but his preaching’s were not welcomed so he left to the smaller islands. It was in the small islands where he first built up his following, then once he had done so he went back to Ireland. This time he baptized thousands of people, ordained new priests, guided women to nunhood, converted the sons of kings in the region, and aided the formation of over 300 churches.

    So why March 17? in the 1600’s, St. Paddy’s day was started as a religious celebration to commemorate the life of St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Since that time, this “Feast Day” was always celebrated on the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death, March 17, 461 AD.

    So this is the real history of this holiday. Now, why did I go through all of that when this article relates to Christopher Columbus?

    Because the topic at hand about the Christopher Columbus is at the heart of this conversation. We as Americans, and honestly I believe as humans, we love celebrations, we love having a reason to revel. But do we love celebration more than remembering the historical accuracy of why we are celebrating? As time goes by and we advance and have the ability to find what is historically accurate and what is not. It seems that some only want to hold on to the old teachings and not reflect the true historical facts.

    But does that mean they shouldn’t be celebrated? I guess, the answer to this question is really in the eye of the individual, not the group. If the date is to be used to celebrate then celebrate. But if you are on the other side of the coin of how this event occurred in history, do you think the pagan and druidic Irish remnants were happy to celebrate St/ Patrick? Much like now, do you think the native Americans are happy to celebrate Christopher Columbus?

    Without compassion and perspective, far too many people are willing to subjugate others, simply because their ideology doesn’t match theirs. We all want to celebrate, but let us all celebrate not the victory of a conqueror over a defeated indigenous populace, but something worth celebrating on these dates.

    That doesn’t mean these events don’t deserve recognition, but not as a National Holiday. In a country where we are all supposed to be tolerant and accepting of other people’s culture, these actions only show that we are not what we say we are.

    I am not recommending to stop celebrating these holidays. If you want to celebrate them, then do so, but I do recommend that we all study our history of each holiday we celebrate, so each of us know what we are truly celebrating, because it may not be historically accurate, and once you find the truth, it may change your opinion.

    TL:DR
    My long explanation is deliberate, read it or don’t, no skin off my back.

          1. Nope. I assumed your 1 word response was in reference to the “it may change your opinion.” line right before. I didn’t assume you went to the TL:DR and was responding to that. Sorry my misunderstanding, but again NoShillZone, thank you for expressing your views.

  2. You cannot reason with these people.
    ….
    Look at the population of Pueblo, it is largely dominated by radical marxist democrats who hate America, are white hating racists who want to destroy America along with its hisory, culture and values.
    ….
    They spread nothing but uncoordinated lies about Columbus claiming everything from he never discovered America to he single handedly raped and murdered 6 million native Americans.

    Pueblo’s city leaders support these radicals and is why Pueblo continues to grow as a crime ridden dump.
    ….
    Pueblo…YUCK!!!

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