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Opinion: It’s Time to Replace Columbus Day

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Raymond Strawn III

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 Should we follow suit and get rid of the outdated holiday of Columbus Day?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.

2 Comments

  1. Don Honda
    October 20, 2017 at 11:31 am — Reply

    Apparently, “native americans” were not the first “indigenous” people here in North America. Evidence is mounting that they pushed out a previous population of European-centric origin:

    The Smithsonian Magazine:
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-very-first-americans-may-have-had-european-roots-5517714/?no-ist
    The Very First Americans May Have Had European Roots
    Some early Americans came not from Asia, it seems, but by way of Europe

    The Washington Post:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/radical-theory-of-first-americans-places-stone-age-europeans-in-delmarva-20000-years-ago/2012/02/28/gIQA4mriiR_story.html
    Radical theory of first Americans places Stone Age Europeans in Delmarva 20,000 years ago

    The National Geographic:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/09/0903_030903_bajaskull.html
    Controversy erupted after skeletal remains were found in Kennewick, Washington, in 1996. This skeleton, estimated to be 9,000 years old, had a long cranium and narrow face—features typical of people from Europe, the Near East or India—rather than the wide cheekbones and rounder skull of an American Indian.

    http://sciencenordic.com/dna-links-native-americans-europeans
    Ancient DNA reveals that the ancestors of modern-day Native Americans had European roots. The discovery sheds new light on European prehistory and also solves old mysteries concerning the colonisation of America.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=europeans+were+the+first+americans&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb

  2. Baracutey
    October 21, 2017 at 12:10 am — Reply

    “…My kids were home from school, but my girlfriend still had class…”

    From that statement I can infer a number of negative aspects about your social integrity that can cast a bad shade upon your person and opinion if I were to publish them over and over to newspapers around the states. Is it true and justified? Who cares, it’s what they will interpret when I keep publishing it the way I infer it. Now do you understand how people connected with the history of Columbus (as descendants or related to that narrative) feel when they read these articles you writers keep submitting over and over?
    So you understand, this is not farther from the fact that you are correct when you say Columbus “may have” or “possibly had”- that is the reality of the facts presented in actual history books that you can find this narrative on if you make an effort to find out. Otherwise you are doing nothing more than propagating that Zinn poisonous literature. I know you guys get paid to write this propaganda, but research further so that you can make yourself aware of the damage you are becoming part of.

    “…I did not see one post wishing Happy Columbus Day…”

    Well why do you think? With all the negative poison you writers have spread about the subject who wants to say anything about it? And think about the most important aspect: who wants to teach the subject in classrooms after this perverse movement has contaminated that narrative? Exactly the example you used is how everybody will treat the subject in schools, fearing the controversy caused by those favorite words of you all- genocide, rape, murder. And that takes away from learning about the other culture involved in that event: the Indigenous of the Caribbean that encountered Columbus in that narrative.

    “I argue that if it is not that important of a holiday, then replacing it will not be that big of an issue…”

    Well, that holiday is important to a large enough group of citizens within our United States- the ones that petitioned it and the ones that are closely related to that narrative. It is not a big issue to take it away from them? If so, why don’t you take away Thanksgiving also? That was not such a “special occasion” for the Indigenous of today’s United States, more to the point of effect rather than Columbus Day.

    “Indigenous Peoples Day will allow us the opportunity to remember and pay our respects…”

    We already do that every month of November which is “National American Indian Heritage Month”- proposed by Dr. Arthur C. Parker (Seneca), authored by J.C. Elliott-High Eagle (Cherokee) and with endorsements collected by horseback ride (!) by Red Fox James (Blackfoot). What? That is not enough because it doesn’t have the word ‘Indigenous’ in it like everybody cries about all the time? Well then there is ‘THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY’ ON AUGUST 9th- AND IT WAS MEANT FOR SOLIDARITY WITH ALL THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS INSTITUTED BY THE UNITED NATIONS! Disregarding that day is a big middle finger to all the other Indigenous tribes that live outside the United States…

    “Shouldn’t we start teaching our children the truth?”

    That responsibility ultimately falls within the father and mother of the children. There is no necessity to change a holiday for that.

    “…these [federal holidays]…all recognize, honor, or celebrate a person, group of people, or a special occasion…”

    So the day Eastern and Western worlds encountered each other is not a special occasion? Everything in your consciousness today is driven by what happened after that day regardless of how do you wish to interpret or reconcile it.

    “The story of Christopher Columbus that I was taught was false and inaccurate; the truth is disturbing and troubling…”

    Again, it is your responsibility as parent to be able ensure having that subject taught properly and have it reformed in your children’s schools if you do not believe it effective (you have to learn about that history yourself first before critizising it). I have already inquired with many schools throughout the states that they are trying to change the old way the history was conveyed; however, with all of you writers’ continued bidding to get rid of the holiday they are just saying why bother and push the subject away from the Social Studies curriculum. So thanks!

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