“Columbus Day Legacy” Explores Cultural Tensions and Contradictions

by Mike Martz on September 10, 2015

Columbus Day Legacy examines the quintessential American issues of free speech and ethnic pride against the backdrop of the ongoing Columbus Day Parade controversy in Denver.

Since 1992, the 500th Anniversary of America’s “discovery” of America, the Italian-American community in Denver has publicly and wholeheartedly celebrated its revered holiday, much to the dismay of many local Native Americans. Columbus Day Legacy conveys the strong sense of community and cultural pride that both Italian Americans and Native Americans hold.

The history of the annual parade in Denver has been peppered with both verbal and physical violence, as well as numerous instances in which city leaders have had to reconcile issues of political correctness and freedom of assembly. Tensions rise as Denver’s Native American and Italian-American communities publicly fight over race, history and what it means to be an “American.”

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