In most of the United States, today is Columbus Day.  Recognition of the holiday is intimately tied with the Catholic presence in the United States, from initial observances by Italian immigrants and their descendants in the second half of the 19th century, to its first federal recognition in 1937.

But Seattle is only the most recent city to switch its observance to "Indigenous Peoples' Day", while several states---including Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and South Dakota---don't recognize Columbus Day at all.

At Sunday Mass in our parish, an icon of St. Kateri Tekawitha was displayed and the opening rite included prayers from the Native American Catholic tradition, as well as a more general recognition of the complex, and often ugly, historical complexity of what most Latin Americans call Dia de la Raza.

What does the day mean to you?  How do you and your community recognize it (or not), and pray about it (or not)?  How has that changed over the years?

Luke Hill is a writer and community organizer in Boston. He blogs at dotCommonweal and MassCommons. 

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