Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day?

by Countable | 10.9.17

What’s the story?

Today, the second Monday in October, the United States celebrates… well, that depends which city you’re in.

In New York, much of midtown Manhattan was blocked earlier today for the Columbus Day Parade. Across the country, in Los Angeles, people turned out for Indigenous Peoples Day — both the L.A. City Council and Board of Supervisors recently voted on the name change, to be implemented no later than 2019.

"This week marks 525 years since Christopher Columbus first set foot in the Americas," history professor Steven W. Hackel wrote in an op-ed in the L.A. Times. “Nobody questions the historical significance of that feat, but how we understand Columbus and his place in world history has changed dramatically over the centuries.”

Should Americans continue celebrating Columbus Day?

Why does it matter?

The headline of that op-ed in the L.A. Times: "Why L.A. is right to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day."

The headline of an op-ed on Fox News: "Why celebrate Columbus Day? Here are a few reasons."

Before launching an exploration of America’s divisiveness on Columbus, let’s take a quick look at why he’s a contentious figure.

There are four main sources of controversy involving the Italian explorer’s interaction with the Native Americans he labeled "Indians":

  • Columbus did not "discover" America — there were indigenous people living here before he arrived.

  • The Europeans forced the Old World inhabitants into slavery, or used violence against them.

  • Native people were forced to convert to Christianity.

  • The Old World introduced devastating new diseases.

Very little of this information was included in early American textbooks.

"Throughout the 1800s and 1900s, civic leaders hailed Columbus as the man who brought culture and civilization to the Americas and in so doing planted the seeds that grew into the democratic republic of the United States," Hackel wrote in the L.A. Times. This led to honorifics for the “proto-Founding Father” in statues, monuments, street names, and city names.

"All this adoration culminated in 1937, when, following massive Italian immigration to the U.S., the federal government proclaimed a national holiday in his honor."

How far have we come in the 80 years since?

"Ohio's capital city may be named for Christopher Columbus," Fox News wrote this week, “but that hasn't stopped the city council of Oberlin, Ohio, from voting to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous People’s Day.”

More than 60 cities from Bangor to Milwaukee to Washington have supported the idea of #IndigenousPeoplesDay.

But there are lot more than 60 cities in the U.S. and many more with streets named after the explorer. Steve Kurtz, a producer for Fox News, wrote in his op-ed that history "is the story of conquest" and that the controversies surrounding Columbus discount that his behavior was “part of the times.” Kurtz lists the following as reasons to celebrate Columbus Day:

  • Celebrates Italians — "Columbus Day is a good chance to recognize what Italians have contributed to America, and the world." (Indeed, Italians are not pleased with L.A.’s plans to replace Columbus Day.)

  • Celebrates exploration—"It took tremendous bravery to sail off into the unknown. One of the best parts of our humanity is that sense of discovery."

  • "Celebrate[s] the spread of Western civilization. Lately a lot of people have been putting down Western civilization, but its spread is one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to humanity."

President Donald Trump released a statement on Friday about the holiday that echoed many of these sentiments. Trump lauded Columbus for "setting the stage for the development of our great Nation" and “inspiring countless others to pursue their dreams and convictions—even in the face of extreme doubt and tremendous adversity.” There was no mention of indigenous people.

What do you think?

Do you agree with L.A. Councilman Mike Bonin that "this gesture of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day is a very small step in apologizing and in making amends"? Or do you agree with an Oberlin, Ohio resident that “I think we should keep American holidays the way there are”? Hit Take Action, tell your reps what you’d like to be celebrating today, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: bdsklo / iStockphoto)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(204)
  • Myia
    10/09/2017
    ···

    Coloumbus did not discover America..why would we celebrate false history? He thought he found a route to India and if you go back and actually study Columbus he performed one of the first acts of genocide.

    Like (104)
    Follow
    Share
  • Alan
    10/09/2017
    ···

    I support indigenous peoples day

    Like (73)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jake
    10/09/2017
    ···

    1) Columbus didn’t discover America 2) when he couldn’t communicate with the indigenous people, he enslaved them. 3) after he made them his slaves, he wanted their gold... but because they didn’t have any he killed them all after he raped the women and kids. 4) he did this throughout the majority of the Caribbean islands.... It’s not that I don’t like history or tradition, I just think it’s horrible to celebrate a man for something that he didn’t do, and on top of that commits mass genocide.

    Like (66)
    Follow
    Share
  • Poli.Sci
    10/09/2017
    ···

    Columbus Day, stop trying to erase history.

    Like (59)
    Follow
    Share
  • Lori
    10/09/2017
    ···

    Columbus does not deserve a holiday to be named after him. When we know better, we do better. Let’s celebrate indigenous People Day.

    Like (48)
    Follow
    Share
  • Bobby
    10/09/2017
    ···

    How about we just get rid of every single thing that every single person doesn’t like!! This country is getting ridiculous about its political correct agenda on everything!! Columbus Day has been a holiday since 1937!!! Nobody has even once thought about it changing it till this generation!! Columbus actually saved two people from being raped and murdered and his crew actually waited until he was dying and sick and they were the ones that raped and stole the gold!!! Stop the insanity....stop the BS!!!

    Like (45)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jim
    10/09/2017
    ···

    Columbus Day, it,s our history and we have every right to it. Everyone born here is indigenous. Columbus landed on an island in the Caribbean and although he tried he did not discover the mainland. Amerigo Vespucci discovered the mainland, that’s why it is named the Americas. They don’t teach history anymore it’s all about social engineering.

    Like (33)
    Follow
    Share
  • Mindful
    10/09/2017
    ···

    Great idea. And they are NOT NATIVE AMERICANS either. They are indeed, Indigenous People. Living here, enjoying their lives ages before we ‘took over’.They were free of any European customizations & diseases. After our arrival their lives were dissembled...to this day. We must do them better.

    Like (31)
    Follow
    Share
  • Bob
    10/09/2017
    ···

    Columbus is 15th Century Fake News.

    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
  • Devin
    10/09/2017
    ···

    If we’re gonna make an Indigenous people holiday it should be on another day besides Columbus Day.

    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
  • Maxwell
    10/09/2017
    ···

    I support Leif Erickson day.

    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
  • Alan
    10/10/2017
    ···

    All I see is a bunch of leftist opinions. So what, if you don’t like the holiday, don’t recognize it. Some people don’t recognize Christmas either. Guess what they embrace the fact that it’s a holiday and they move on. All this is, is a bunch of cry babies that don’t know the full history and all they want to do is take down monuments, deface and destroy property, just to say they have a right. Get over it. Go to Chicago, Detroit and CA and do something that would actually have a cause, like protest the corrupt governments in those areas. The Gov’t that doesn’t do anything for the citizens except keeping them in poverty and create welfare and violent states. Protest how the left regime only wants your vote and when they get it, they forget about you and move on. They are the masters and you all are slaves. You all are to dumb to realize this and have been voting the same way for decades and look where it has landed you. Absolutely nowhere except to the feet of the masters. You bow to them, they manipulate you and you fall for it. Ignorance is bliss. I have no sympathy for those who vote the same agenda time after time and get not a single thing in return. You are slaves, they are the masters. Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein, Elijah Cummings, John Lewis, Al Green and many more to include republicans(just not as many). They all use you, they all use race just to try and make an agenda, they are all millionaires who only lookout for themselves and use you to make the millions.

    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
  • Dallas
    10/09/2017
    ···

    No reason to erase history or revise it. Might as well keep it the way it is and teach in schools the significance of what Columbus did so people can form their own opinions on the subject. The blanket groupthink mentality of revising history is disappointing.

    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    10/09/2017
    ···

    After learning many years ago, that Columbus did not actually discover the Americas, and after learning about the atrocities to the indigenous people, I feel we owe some recognition to honest dignified people of earth who were wiped out by the white man’s greed for gold, resources, wildlife, landownership and much more senseless materialism. Columbus does not deserve a special day of honor. I am sure someone else has already written the perfect thesis on this.

    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
  • Dan
    10/09/2017
    ···

    We need to repeal and replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. It is a very small step in apologizing and in making amends

    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
  • Azrael
    10/09/2017
    ···

    Celebrate indigenous people on their own day Make Election Day a federal holiday The end We have much more important things to worry about right now, like losing our democracy, stopping world war 3 and ridding our country of someone trying to ruin our great country Focus people focus It’s not that difficult to fix holidays One resolution, one paragraph Do it now and move on to saving our country

    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
  • Christopher
    10/09/2017
    ···

    History must be corrected. This miseducation has gone on for far to long and has caused many lies to be believed as truth. “Indigenous Peoples Day” is perfectly fine because it is the truth.

    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
  • Katie
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Not wanting to celebrate Columbus Day is not attempting to erase history. He should still be taught in schools & we should 100% recognize his role in history. However, everything he did was built on the backs of indigenous people that he, & many other Europeans who came over, raped and slaughtered in the name of colonization. He is not a man who needs to be celebrated in the same way MLK jr is. This history should not be erased, but it shouldn't be celebrated either.

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • Silvana
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Columbus Day!! STOP trying to change history.

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • Thomas
    10/09/2017
    ···

    He didn’t necessary “discover” America but what he did do is lead the way for it to be colonized by Europe, which is where we obtain almost all of our modern influence. Without him, our modern history would have been drastically changed. He “discovered” America in the sense that he connected it to Europe.

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share