Columbus day Controversy

By Lydia Prendergast

         Every year in the beginning of October, American students and adults nationwide praise the work-free Monday commonly known as Columbus Day. This holiday, which occurred on October 9th, 2017, is beginning to stir up controversy over why we actually admire Christopher Columbus and celebrate a holiday applauding his work. From the start of 1937, Columbus day has celebrated Christopher Columbus’ finding and exploration of what is now America in 1492. But this year, Los Angeles has voted to get rid of Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This new and improved holiday will instead be celebrating indigenous, aboriginal and native people. The movement views Columbus Day as a negative mark in our history, and something that should not be celebrated. They preach that the Native Americans were actually the first to inhabit America, while Christopher Columbus only claimed the land his own and colonized it for the people of England. These people are now slowly trying to heal the wounds of the past and bring awareness to all the discrimination that Native Americans have constantly faced throughout history. Although celebrating those who came before Columbus may seem like a new idea, it first appeared in South Dakota as Native American Day in 1990, soon after becoming Indigenous Peoples Day in Berkeley, California in 1992. For many, the adventures of Columbus are not something Americans should be proud of, but instead showcase the violent, racist tactics used to acquire land in the past. On the other hand, some Americans believe that this holiday is being “blown out of proportion” and what has occurred in history should stay that way. They believe, that although the past was violent, American land should be celebrated and that this holiday commemorates civilization and exploration. And thus, the controversy has begun. One side views the holiday as a day of praising a racist past filled with ignorance and unfairness, while the other side argues that we are only celebrating how our land came to be and what being an American means. As time passes, it will be interesting to see what side the majority of America will take!