“Christopher Columbus undoubtedly changed the world. But was it for the better?” History Editors, updated, October 9, 2020
Excerpt: Why Columbus Day Courts Controversy, History.com, October 2020 “More than 500 years after he ‘discovered’ the New World—kicking off centuries of exploration and colonization of the Americas—Christopher Columbus is honored with a federal holiday on the second Monday of every October.
However, as historians have continued to dig into the life of Christopher Columbus, controversy has arisen over continuing to honor the Italian explorer as a hero. Like many European explorers, Christopher Columbus encountered indigenous people throughout his voyages.
There are three main sources of controversy involving his interactions with the indigenous people he labeled ‘Indians’: the use of violence and slavery, the forced conversion of native peoples to Christianity and the introduction of a host of new diseases that would have dramatic long-term effects on native people in the Americas.
On his first day in the New World, he ordered six of the natives to be seized, writing in his journal that he believed they would be good servants. Throughout his years in the New World, Columbus enacted policies of forced labor in which natives were put to work for the sake of profits.
Later, Columbus sent thousands of peaceful Taino ‘Indians’ from the island of Hispaniola to Spain to be sold. Many died en route…Eventually, his methods and actions caught up with Columbus. A number of settlers lobbied against him at the Spanish court, accusing Columbus of mismanagement…This historical record has cast Columbus’ legacy under a cloud of controversy. Protests at Columbus Day parades, efforts to eliminate him from classroom curricula and calls for changing the federal holiday have all followed.”
Indigenous Peoples’ Celebration
“Celebrate Indigenous art and culture at the Heard Museum. A visit to the museum is a perfect way to support American Indian artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers and chefs. Join us for this special day during which we honor the vitality, beauty and diversity of American Indian people.” The Heard Museum
9 Things to Do on Indigenous Peoples Day!
“Christopher Columbus did not “discover” America. Today, let’s remember and celebrate the Peoples who were here first!
“Over 130 states, cities and universities across the United States have voted to stop recognizing “Columbus Day” in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day, shifting the holiday’s focus from Columbus to the people he encountered in the New World and their modern-day descendants.” Cultural Survival.org
Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
“It’s time to move beyond the falsehoods of Columbus Day!”
“The United States is grappling with the legacy of slavery, systemic racism, and oppression. This requires us, as responsible citizens, to reflect on our own lives, and question our long-held assumptions. We need, furthermore, to intentionally support efforts to dismantle the stereotypes and bigotry ingrained in our country’s history and culture.” CommonWealthMagazine