WASHINGTON—Affirming the importance of traditions like Columbus Day to other Americans, the nation’s 573 federally recognized Indian nations released a joint statement Monday confirming they don’t need a special holiday and would be perfectly fine with just having large swaths of land returned to them immediately. “Look, we get why Christopher Columbus is very important to some people, and we’re more than willing to compromise so long as the U.S. government returns 1.5 billion acres of land to us as soon as they can,” said Chief Harold Longtoe Ouimette, 63, an Abenaki elder who confirmed that although marching in a parade honoring Native peoples might be interesting, the group of indigenous tribes would vastly prefer if U.S. residents could just vacate Manhattan, the Black Hills, and thousands of other sites taken from them through broken treaties, coercion, and violence. “Obviously, honoring someone who caused a mass genocide is still troubling, but we’re seriously open to letting that slide if we get back, say, the continent that you stole from us. That or $35 trillion. Your choice, honestly.” At press time, the U.S. government had responded to the Native peoples’ request with an offer of $5 in lump silver per person and a box of the finest cloth ever purveyed in Europe.
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