Biden proclaims Indigenous Peoples' Day & Columbus Day

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor the perseverance and courage
of Indigenous peoples, show our gratitude for the myriad contributions
they have made to our world, and renew our commitment to respect Tribal
sovereignty and self-determination.

The story of America’s Indigenous peoples is a story of their
resilience and survival; of their persistent commitment to their right
to self-governance; and of their determination to preserve cultures,
identities, and ways of life. Long before European explorers sailed to
this continent, Native American and Alaska Native Nations made this land
their home, some for thousands of years before the United States was
founded. They built many Nations that created powerful, prosperous, and
diverse cultures, and they developed knowledge and practices that still
benefit us today.

But throughout our Nation’s history,
Indigenous peoples have faced violence and devastation that has tested
their limits. For generations, it was the shameful policy of our Nation
to remove Indigenous peoples from their homelands; force them to
assimilate; and ban them from speaking their own languages, passing down
ancient traditions, and performing sacred ceremonies. Countless lives
were lost, precious lands were taken, and their way of life was forever
changed. In spite of unimaginable loss and seemingly insurmountable
odds, Indigenous peoples have persisted. They survived. And they
continue to be an integral part of the fabric of the United States.

Today, Indigenous peoples are a beacon of resilience, strength,
and perseverance as well as a source of incredible contributions.
Indigenous peoples and Tribal Nations continue to practice their
cultures, remember their heritages, and pass down their histories from
generation to generation. They steward this country’s lands and waters
and grow crops that feed all of us. They serve in the United States
military at a higher rate than any other ethnic group. They challenge
all of us to celebrate the good, confront the bad, and tell the whole
truth of our history. And as innovators, educators, engineers,
scientists, artists, and leaders in every sector of society, Indigenous
peoples contribute to our shared prosperity. Their diverse cultures and
communities today are a testament to the unshakable and unbreakable
commitment of many generations to preserve their cultures, identities,
and rights to self-governance. That is why, despite centuries of
devastation and turmoil, Tribal Nations continue to thrive and lead in
countless ways.

When I came into office, I was determined to usher in a new era
in the relationship between the Federal Government and Tribal Nations
and to honor the solemn promises the United States made to fulfill our
trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations. That work began by
appointing Native Americans to lead on the frontlines of my
Administration — from the first Native American Secretary of the
Interior Deb Haaland and dozens of Senate-confirmed Native American
officials to the over 80 Native American appointees serving across my
Administration and in the Federal courts. I restored the White House
Council on Native American Affairs to improve interagency coordination
and decision-making as well as the White House Tribal Nations Summit to
bring together key members of my Administration and the leaders of
hundreds of Tribal Nations.

Last year, I signed a new Presidential Memorandum that creates
uniform standards for consultation between the Federal Government and
Tribal Nations. And together, we are making historic investments in
Indian Country. That includes $32 billion from the American Rescue
Plan, the largest one-time direct investment in Indian Country in
American history; more than $13 billion to rebuild infrastructure, the
single largest investment in Indian Country infrastructure in history;
and the biggest investment ever to combat the existential threat of
climate change, including $700 million dedicated to climate change
response in Native communities.

We are also working to
improve public health and safety for Native Americans. That is why I
signed an Executive Order that helps us respond more effectively to the
epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples. And when we
reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act last year, I was proud to
include historic provisions that reaffirm Tribal sovereignty and restore
Tribal jurisdiction. I have also requested a $9.1 billion infusion for
Indian Health Services and asked the Congress to make that funding a
mandatory part of the Federal budget for the first time in our history.

My Administration will also continue using all the authority
available to it, including the Antiquities Act, to protect sacred Tribal
lands. We have already restored protections for Bears Ears and Grand
Staircase-Escalante in Utah and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts
National Monument in New England. I have declared new national
monuments at the Camp Hale-Continental Divide in Colorado, Avi Kwa Ame
in Nevada, and Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni in Arizona to protect lands
that are sacred to so many Tribes. My Administration has also signed at
least 20 new co-stewardship agreements with Tribes, and we are working
on many more.

As we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, may we renew the
enduring soul of our Nation-to-Nation relationships — a spirit of
friendship, stewardship, and respect.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United
States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the
Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim
October 9, 2023, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. I call upon the people of
the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and
activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be
displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our
diverse history and the Indigenous peoples who contribute to shaping
this Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
sixth
day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and
of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and
forty-eighth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

A Proclamation on Columbus Day, 2023

Today, we celebrate all the Italian Americans, whose courage and character reflect and help define our Nation.

In 1891, 11 Italian Americans were murdered in one of the
largest mass lynchings in our Nation’s history. In the wake of this
horrific attack, President Benjamin Harrison established Columbus Day in
1892. For so many people across our country, that first Columbus Day
was a way to honor the lives that had been lost and to celebrate the
hope, possibilities, and ingenuity Italian Americans have contributed to
our country since before the birth of our republic.

More than a century later, we mark Columbus Day with that
purpose — celebrating the heritage of Italian Americans, whose hands
helped build our Nation and whose hearts have always carried faith in
the American Dream. For many Italian Americans, the story of
Christopher Columbus’ voyage — from the Spanish port of Palos de la
Frontera on behalf of Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II — remains a
source of pride. It reflects the stories of trips across the Atlantic
that so many Italian Americans grew up hearing at the dinner table,
whether tales of ancestors who set sail on wooden boats across rough
waters to begin new lives on our shores or grandparents who immigrated
here with little more than hope in their hearts. These are stories of
people leaving everything they knew and loved behind for the promise of
opportunity in the United States.

Today, we honor those stories told around the dinner table and
celebrate what these hopeful Italian American newcomers brought to our
Nation. Italian Americans are educators, service members, doctors,
engineers, artists, Government officials, and leaders and innovators in
every field. The Italian American community is also a source of
strength for our Nation’s enduring relationship with Italy — an
essential NATO ally and partner in the European Union. Together, we are
working to address the challenges of our time, especially supporting
the people of Ukraine in defense of their freedom.

America was founded on an idea: that we are all created equal,
endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, and deserve to
be treated equally throughout our lives. Though we have never fully
lived up to that idea, our aspirations have never let us walk away from
it either. Today, we honor all the Italian Americans who never walked
away from our fundamental creed and who, for generations, have helped
realize the full promise of our Nation.

In commemoration of Christopher Columbus’ historic voyage 531
years ago, the Congress, by joint resolution of April 30, 1934, and
modified in 1968 (36 U.S.C. 107), as amended, has requested the
President proclaim the second Monday of October of each year as
“Columbus Day.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United
States of America, do hereby proclaim October 9, 2023, as Columbus Day.
I direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public
buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and all
who have contributed to shaping this Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day
of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of
the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and
forty-eighth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.