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Columbus Day 2011

Denver’s two-decade history of protest against the Columbus Day parade will be tested October 8. Although police barricades were up last year along the customary downtown parade route, direct action in the streets was largely supplanted by a low-key forum on the legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery and a smattering of signs and muted catcalls.

What this year will bring is a matter of some conjecture, as Native youth from the Denver community ponder the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, economic and social disparities in Wall Street policies and practices, such environmental issues as the Keystone XL Pipeline across tribal lands, and the ongoing legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery.

The Columbus Day holiday began in Denver in 1907, and opponents believe it should end in Denver as a state and federal holiday. They have objected to a parade celebrating a man they describe as a mass murderer and slave trader who initiated the invasion of present-day North America and obliterated thousands of Native communities.