Opinion: It’s Time to Replace Columbus Day
Columbus Day was on September 9. It is a holiday we celebrate in the United States, but is it about time we replace Columbus Day? Los Angeles has changed Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. Should we follow suit and get rid of the outdated holiday of Columbus Day? I agree that we should replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.
I remember learning that Christopher Columbus discovered the United States and he was the pioneer in proving the world was round. Later, I found out both claims were inaccurate. I learned recently Columbus may have been responsible for genocides, so why are we celebrating a false hero who may have been responsible for millions of lives being tortured and lost? It doesn’t make sense.
Columbus Day this year did not feel like a holiday. My kids were home from school, but my girlfriend still had class. No one said “Happy Columbus Day” in our home. None of my family or friends texted or called me wishing me Happy Columbus Day. On social media, I did not see one post wishing Happy Columbus Day. I did see a post on Indigenous People’s Day. Is Columbus Day even an important holiday to Americans?
I argue that if it is not that important of a holiday, then replacing it will not be that big of an issue. I am sure some people and families celebrate Columbus Day, but I doubt the majority do. Shouldn’t a holiday be special or have an important meaning or message behind it. Do we really want to continue celebrating a lie? I think it is time for us to update with the times.
Besides, shouldn’t we remember the indigenous peoples. Changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day will allow us the opportunity to remember and pay our respects to the massacre and mistreatment the indigenous people had to endure, some of it possibly by Christopher Columbus himself. Shouldn’t we start teaching our children the truth? How much longer are we going to ignore history and credit a man who did not achieve the things that was taught to us as kids?
When you look at other federal holidays: (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas) New Year’s Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, President’s Day and Martin Luther King Day, these days all recognize, honor, or celebrate a person, group of people, or a special occasion. New Year’s is the first day of the year and Independence Day is the day of our independence. Veterans Day honors our veterans and Memorial Day honors those who died fighting for our country. Labor Day is a day to recognize the working labor force. President’s Day is in honor of Washington’s Birthday, but also celebrating other Presidents and lastly Martin Luther King Day honors Dr. King himself for the civil rights movement. These federal holidays are deserving and have an importance in our history. Columbus Day does not belong in this category. I argue that if we substitute Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day, it would belong as a federal holiday because it would honor those people who were here before we colonized America, an important historical fact about our country.
It does not make sense to continue celebrating Columbus Day. That holiday does not match the criteria of the other federal holidays. The story of Christopher Columbus that I was taught was false and inaccurate; the truth is disturbing and troubling. This is not a man we want to celebrate. Switching Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day is an accepted alternative that is respectful to those who were slaughtered during those times, and is historically accurate. We can no longer ignore the truth about our history. Let us remember and celebrate the ingenious people before us, like they deserve to be and replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.