Columbus Day Should Sail

First landing of Columbus on the shores of the New World: At San Salvador, W.I., Oct. 12th 1492. New York: Published by Currier & Ives. Repository. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Copyright public domain

Izzy Lester, Editor

Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America is celebrated every year in the United States on the second Monday of October. This holiday is meant to be used to celebrate the discovery of our continent by Columbus and the Europeans; however, as historians discover more and more about Columbus, the holiday now comes with a sickening reputation, especially for those with Indigenous ancestry. 

Columbus Day should be abolished and replaced with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

One of the major problems with celebrating Columbus Day is the fact that it whitewashes generations of brutality by Europeans on Indigenous people. Christopher Columbus was a prime example of that brutality. Columbus and his men slaughtered thousands of Indigenous American people without a second thought, believing themselves to be superior to the natives and in control of their land. Unfortunately, those prejudices still exist today, and by celebrating Columbus Day, we are only seemingly celebrating that prejudice and the pain and torture it inflicted upon Indigenous Americans.

Out of all the holidays that the United States officially recognizes, Columbus Day is the least celebrated by citizens across the country. Most only know of the holiday because it allows them a day off from school or work, but not because they celebrate it. Seeing how insignificant Columbus Day is to citizens, it would not affect anyone to simply remove it as a whole and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which would guarantee to have more people celebrating it as many American citizens come from Indigenous heritage.

While the honoring of Columbus Day projects the suffering of Indigenous Americans, a rejuvenation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day would do the exact opposite. Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which has already replaced Columbus Day in several states, such as Alaska, would be used to celebrate and commemorate the people who first lived on our continent. It would also serve as a way for young Americans to be educated on Natives versus Christopher Columbus since Natives have played a more important role in the creation and development of the United States.

Despite these new findings of Columbus, there are still a vast majority of people who believe that Columbus Day should be celebrated as it is, saying that the holiday is used to honor what is considered as the first discovery of our continent. This information, however, is false. Long before Columbus arrived on the North American continent, Norse explorers from Europe discovered North America, nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. Therefore, the whole concept of celebrating Columbus Day for that reason is insignificant.

Some people don’t even recognize Columbus Day as a real holiday, only seeing it as an excuse to get out of school or work. However, the distress and pain that Indigenous people go through should not be blindly ignored any longer, and the United States needs to take action. To help, try and learn more about the revolts against Columbus Day and how others are trying to gain awareness for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Thomas Atkins | The Talon News