Columbus Day

Delaney Stites, Staff

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To celebrate the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492- which was actually one expedition seeing the fully Native-American-occupied continents for the first time, the United States government made Columbus Day a Federal Holiday in 1937.

As long as Columbus day has existed, there has been controversy surrounding it. It is not hard to understand why, either, when you consider the near-genocide that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were subject to at the hands of Christopher Columbus. Less commonly known is the fact that Christopher Columbus was not even the first European to see the Americas; Viking Leif Erickson traveled there nearly 500 years before Columbus.

Columbus Day is often regarded as a American day of patriotism. Flags are hung, parties are had and, in some cases, children are even rewarded a day out of school. This all in honor of a man who, if he accomplished the same feats in modern America, would be regarded as a tyrannical terrorist. It is only because the United States still has such a deep seeded foundation in purely western ideas that the holiday even exists.

It is only among major backlash that certain cities and states in the nation; including Alaska, Vermont, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, have dubbed Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead. Not that I have a very personal tie to the subject, but I just can’t help but think that an entire group of people who had their land stolen would enjoy sharing a holiday with the man who stole it in the first place. “We did not want to be the center of a national celebration of imperialism and colonialism and genocide”, said John Curl- an activist that spurred the push to replace Ohio’s Columbus Day.