By Emily Heiss
Features and Marketing Editor
In the United States there are two days each year where we take a day off from work or school and commemorate a figure that has had a huge affect on what we call America today.
Those two holidays are Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Columbus Day.
One of these holidays celebrates the legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to our country.
The other holiday honors a man who assisted in the stealing of the Native American people’s land. Based upon historical context, I’m sure you can assume which holiday is which.
Each year Columbus Day is celebrated, more and more controversy surrounds it as historians continue to learn and write about Christopher Columbus.
What we KNOW is that Columbus encountered indigenous people when he sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and “discovered” America.
However, Columbus never even made it to North America - let alone the United States. Columbus actually found himself on the island of Hispaniola, home of modern day Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
On Hispaniola, Columbus had reigned as the dictator of Spain’s new territory. He would enslave the natives of the land and force them to work in harsh conditions in order to retrieve him some gold.
Oh, and not to mention, if Columbus did not feel as if you collected enough gold, you would lose your hand.
Regardless of your own personal stance on the holiday, you can agree that the punishments that the Native Americans endured were tragic.
So, yes it is no question why there is such controversy surrounding this holiday. Imagine if Germany would partake in celebrating Adolf Hitler Day. Many would be outraged for the many lives he had taken. Celebrating Christopher Columbus Day is no different.
Imagine the families of the indigenous people that were murdered and had their homes stolen from them.
It boggles me how anyone could support such a heinous holiday.
However, fear no more, many states are trying to make up for the damages we have caused the Natives.
This new holiday, originating in California, takes advantage of this holiday and honors the lives of those affected by Columbus, the Indigenous People.
National Indigenous People’s day has already replaced Columbus Day in several counties including: L.A, Seattle, Albuquerque and Denver.
I see this to be a great way of mending the holiday and tending to many needs, as it honors those who deserve it and there is little to no controversy surrounding them unlike Christopher Columbus.
This also still allows for people to have off from school or work, just now it is for a reason that everyone can get on board with.
I see no issue whatsoever in changing the name of “Columbus Day” to “National Indigenous People’s Day.” In fact, I think that this name change should be effective nation wide, not just the several counties that already made the bold yet wise decision.
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