March 26, 2011

Preview of Columbus Day Legacy

Native Film Tackles Columbus Day Issues

By Carol BerryColumbus Day became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906; nowadays, Italian-Americans clash regularly with those opposed to a parade honoring the controversial historical figure.

“Columbus Day Legacy,” a half-hour documentary about the Denver Columbus Day parade and the protests that it engenders, will begin airing on PBS March 25. It will also be screening on April 2 at the Native American Film + Video Festival taking place at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City.

It’s likely that filmmaker Bennie Klair, Dine’, will get a more sympathetic reaction from the New York crowd than he did when he showed the film in Denver in February. There, on consecutive evenings, he showed the film to Italian-Americans whom he involved in the documentary, and then to Columbus Day parade critics.

Parade supporters who saw the documentary were angry that “the Indians” got the last word, Klair said, although he pointed out that film concludes with Italian-Americans at a post-parade party while parade opponents wait for their fellow protesters to get out of jail.

The following evening, polite approval from Natives opposed to the parade gave way to stinging criticism that the film neglected to show the police brutality that had occurred against protesters. Klair’s repeated, exasperated response: “The film is what it is.”

Klair added that he didn’t have footage of everything that took place at the parade, and that “PBS wanted both sides told.” For that reason, he included material about the 1914 Ludlow Massacre in southern Colorado, where striking miners and family members, many of them Italian-American, were killed by the Colorado National Guard.
Comment:  I'm not sure what the deaths of Italian Americans have to do with anything. The issue is a Columbus parade held on Columbus Day, not an Italian American Parade held on some other day.

If you want to celebrate Italian American pride, go ahead. Honor Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo, or some other great Italian. Just stop associating it with Columbus aka "America's First Terrorist."

For more on the subject, see Columbus Statue Defaced on Columbus Day and Columbus Day 2010 Protests.

3 comments:

Burt said...

I was in Denver protesting the 1992Columbus Day parade and I saw Italian Americans protesting against the Columbus Day parade also.

Is the Italian American populous divided on this holiday and is it largely been taken over by racist anti-Indian whites?

Or is it still a form of pride for Italian Americans?

L.E. Falcone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L.E. Falcone said...

No pride here, Burt. But, I'm only one of many.