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Columbus Day: time for change

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Graphic by: Kennedy Homan

This year marks the 525th anniversary of Christopher Columbus discovering (read: commandeering) the New World. Historically, Columbus has been celebrated as a pioneer and a figurehead for Italian-Americans. However, Columbus also triggered the genocide of millions of the indigenous people living in in the Americas.

Christopher Columbus set up programs on the island of Española (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic) to systematically exterminate the Taíno Natives. The Taíno population, which was at approximately eight million at the time of Columbus’s arrival, was reduced to two hundred by 1542. This system of genocide continued even after Columbus’s time, resulting in the loss of many lives and cultures at the hands of European brutality. The mistreatment of Native peoples was a foundation upon which America was built, and that mistreatment continues today.

Throughout August, cities all over the country began the processes of removing Confederate flags and statues of Confederate soldiers. Confederate flags and statues represented the Confederacy or the southern states who wanted to secede from the union. The Confederacy seceded primarily on principles that were racist- that is, the Confederacy wanted to preserve slavery. Celebrating those symbols reflects our modern values and perpetuates the hate they inspire.

On August 30, the Los Angeles City Council voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Cities including Seattle, Albuquerque, and Denver have already made the switch years prior; Aurora ought to follow suit. Renaming the day to honor Native people is just one small step we can take to apologize for centuries of mistreatment. What’s more, on Indigenous Peoples Day schools could have discussions with students about the history of Native American-US relations, similar to what we do on 9/11. It’s important for us as a country to begin making amends and to learn from the violence of our past in order to build a more peaceful future.  

Celebrating Columbus Day and Confederate statues go hand in hand: both are important parts of history to teach and know about, but neither should be honored with a day or a statue in its memory. It’s time we make a change and stop celebrating Columbus Day.

12 Comments

12 Responses to “Columbus Day: time for change”

  1. Kennedy Homan on October 6th, 2017 7:18 am

    Preach

    [Reply]

  2. Sebastian on October 6th, 2017 11:40 am

    I understand where you’re coming from in regards to how Columbus Day should be changed so that tragedies of the past aren’t forgotten, but what you said about how renaming the day should be our way of apologizing to Native Americans whose ancestors were mistreated as a result of Christopher Columbus’s actions irked me. Many people these days feel responsible when it comes to their ancestor’s transgressions, but in my opinion, nobody should have to bear the burden of original sin. I believe that you’re absolutely right when saying how everyone should learn from past mistakes and honor death rather than celebrate it, but I don’t think anybody should have to apologize for something they had no influence over. Also, I think that both Confederate and Union statues of soldiers should stay where they are. Yes, you may not agree on either of the ideals those soldiers had, but if we’re talking about respecting and honoring the dead then there should be few exceptions.

    [Reply]

    R u serious Reply:

    respect and honor people who fought to have slavery remain as an institution? disagreeing ideals doesn’t apply to the marginalization and dehumanization of people based on their skin color. I have no respect for confederate soldiers, and if you do, you need to reevaluate the person you are. Even if your “disagreeing ideals” argument were true, removing a statue isn’t the same as defacing a grave. Slavery as an institution isn’t as simple as an ideal, its racism pure and simple. not that hard to understand.

    [Reply]

  3. Abbey on October 6th, 2017 1:52 pm

    I completely agree with this article. I think the only way to improve America is to start recognizing and accepting our past and working to create a better future. Go Avani!

    [Reply]

  4. Reilly Koyl on October 7th, 2017 1:17 pm

    I agree with you on everything. However, I believe that while the statues should be taken down from the city centers, they shouldn’t be destroyed. My brother made a good point by saying that since they are a part of history (while terrible) they should at least be put in historical museums, Not to be glorified, but to at least remain as a reminder that we can always be better than they were. Put the statues in a civil war museum or something.

    I agree with you with changing Columbus day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, it would be a decent step for change.

    Amazing writing as always.
    Go, Go, Mustangs!

    [Reply]

  5. Avery Austgen on October 10th, 2017 8:17 am

    I agree. I also think that Veterans Day should be off so we can spend time with family members that were in the service. If they do to change the name for Columbus Day, at least let us have school then but no school on Veterans Day.

    [Reply]

  6. Christopher Columbus on October 10th, 2017 8:27 am

    What is this blasphemy? Taking my holy name and tainting it with your fraudulent disclosure. Now they want my holiday stripped of my beautiful name? Complete rubbish. The rumors aren’t true people. I am an elegant man of great renown. Yes, I’ve enslaved and murdered indigenous peoples. And I didn’t discover America. And I didn’t discover that the world was round. But I am truly a legendary individual. You shall worship me as a god and if you don’t end this utter quagmire, I’ll be forced to enslave your staff and claim your precious land as my own. Cause that’s what America’s about. Taking things that aren’t ours and harming people that get in our way. I, Cristoforo Colombo, will not allow my glorious glamour to be shaken. This means war Newsmag!! Bloody and glorious war!

    [Reply]

    Reddit Weeb Reply:

    Upvoted ^

    [Reply]

  7. Daniel Chimpok Lee on October 10th, 2017 1:40 pm

    나는이 성명서에 매우 동의한다.

    [Reply]

    Hello Reply:

    나도.

    [Reply]

  8. Fr on October 13th, 2017 1:18 pm

    I agree with everything said, but statues shouldn’t be destroyed. They should be put in historical museums, not praised but are an artifact of Americas history. Also, I believe I feel no need to apologize to anyone. I am not responsible for anything my ancestors did, when as far as we can date back, out ancestors lived in Germany and Russia. I feel bad for everyone that was slaughtered, but I am not responsible.

    [Reply]

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Columbus Day: time for change