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Cleveland's Columbus Day Parade returns to Little Italy, but tension's over holiday's significance persist

The parade stepped off at noon and made its way through the iconic neighborhood.

CLEVELAND — After the 2020 parade was called off due to COVID-19 concerns, the Columbus Day Parade returned Monday to Cleveland’s Little Italy.

The parade, which started at noon, traveled along Mayfield and Murray Hill roads. Prior to the parade's start, organizers said it would feature “elaborate floats, marching bands, local artifacts and city leaders” to celebrate Northeast Ohio’s “deeply rooted Italian-American culture.”

You can watch the full Columbus Day Parade in the player below: 

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A 10 a.m. Mass was also held at Holy Rosary Church on Mayfield Road prior to the parade.

“Columbus’s journey launched 500 years of immigration to America, attracting peoples from throughout the world seeking a better life for their families — this is the spirit we champion and are fighting to preserve, and this is what the Columbus’ parades and statues stand for,” said ISDA National President and Greater Cleveland Columbus Day Chairman Basil M. Russo.

Some communities, however, have moved away from labeling it Columbus Day to instead recognize it as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Last week, President Joe Biden was the first to ever issue a presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day.

“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” President Biden wrote in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamation. “Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”

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