Columbus Day vs. Indigenous Day

Cole Bruhnke, Editor in Chief

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Cities across the U.S. are transitioning from celebrating Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, otherwise known as Native American Day.

Why is Native American Day suddenly so popular over Columbus Day? Technically, it wasn’t suddenly popular. The idea for the alteration came from an International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas in 1977. The first city to switch was Berkeley City, 25 years ago. Los Angeles followed on Wednesday August 23, 2017. The LA Times reported, “The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to eliminate Columbus Day from the city calendar, siding with activists who view the explorer as a symbol of genocide for native peoples in North America and elsewhere.” This is one reason why some wish Columbus Day to be replaced.

Columbus was an Italian explorer hired by Spain to explore the East Indies by sailing West. When he found America, he assumed it was India. He has been accused of killing, torturing, and enslaving some of the “Indians” who were there. In addition, some would say he was a, “…catalyst for the destruction of Native American people and their cultures in the centuries that followed.” according to the LA Times.

Another reason some use as proof that Columbus doesn’t deserve a day to commemorate him is because he didn’t “discover” America. He was the first European to reach the continent, whether he knew it or not. The first people to be in the Americas were the Native Americans.

To promote Native American Day, another argument in addition to that Native Americans came here first, is that our country needs a day to commemorate Native American history. This may seem obvious, but it is the top argument for the holiday.

Travis Crane, an 8th grade Dana Middle School student, said in response to being asked his opinion, “By celebrating Columbus, we are celebrating the deaths and tortures of many Native Americans.”

The decision in LA didn’t have unanimous support. It was made “…over the objections of Italian American civic groups.” observed the LA Times. They believed erasing Columbus Day was like erasing their heritage, since Columbus was Italian.

Others would say that Columbus was responsible for bringing the two continents (Europe and North America) together and led the age of exploration.

In addition, “Whatever your views of the “Columbus controversy,”this holiday continues to be an important way for all Americans to learn more about the Age of Exploration and the enormous transformations it provoked.” stated History Channel.

L.A.’s city councilmember Joe Buscaino, voted no (not to switch to Indigenous Peoples Day). The LA Times reported, “Councilman Joe Buscaino, a first-generation Italian American, raised in San Pedro, had sought to replace Columbus Day with a different name, one that celebrates “all of the diverse cultures in the city.” Buscaino said many had forgotten the prejudice faced by Italian Americans in the United States — and asked his colleagues not to “cure one offense with another.” “All of our individual cultures matter,” said Buscaino, who represents neighborhoods from Watts to San Pedro.”

Indigenous People’s Day was on Monday, October 2nd. What do you think?

 

BREAKING NEWS: LA County Board of Supervisors renamed Columbus Day as Italian Heritage Day.

1 Comment

One Response to “Columbus Day vs. Indigenous Day”

  1. Katherine Ethridge on October 16th, 2017 3:50 pm

    Columbus is horrible!
    He chopped off Native Americans hand’s because they couldn’t find gold in that area.
    That’s not right!!

    [Reply]

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