Cuomo says Columbus Day and honoring Native Americans not mutually exclusive

Oct 9, 2017

Gov. Andrew Cuomo weighed in on the controversy over Christopher Columbus when he marched in New York City’s annual Columbus Day parade.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, marching in Monday's Columbus Day parade in New York City, weighed in on the controversy over the holiday.
Credit Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office

Cuomo, who referred to the day’s celebration not as Columbus Day but as Italian-American Day, was asked by reporters about the growing movement to pull down some statues of Christopher Columbus in New York.  

The governor said he “rejects the negativity” behind the cause and that honoring Columbus and honoring indigenous peoples are not two opposing viewpoints.

“It’s not an either/or, it’s both,” said Cuomo. “Of course we should honor the indigenous people. They were abused by many leaders.”

The governor said the United States government treated Native Americans badly, including the forced march of the Cherokee nation, known as the Trail of Tears, and land grabs that left tribes on less desirable reservation lands.