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Columbus Day: time for change

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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.

About the Writer
Avani Shah, Headlines Editor

Avani Shah is a senior and Headlines Editor for Metea Media. This is her second year on staff. Avani is a black belt in Tang Soo Do. She can often be found...


19 Responses to “Columbus Day: time for change”

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


  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.

  3. R u serious on October 10th, 2017 11:45 am

    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.

  4. 谢洋洋 on October 27th, 2017 10:51 am

    SLAVERY ISN’T RACISM. It’s a lot more complicated than that.

    The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and religions from ancient times to the present day. However the social, economic, and legal positions of slaves were vastly different in different systems of slavery in different times and places.

    In the ancient Near East and Asia Minor slavery was common practice. The Ottoman Empire enslaved Caucasians. Persians and Arabs also enslaved the African people.

    In regards with the statues, it is a part of our history. No matter how brutal we need to remember it. The same thing with WW2 and the Berlin Wall. Parts of the Berlin Wall are still up because it is now a memorial located in the middle of the capital. The memorial is now a symbol of the lack of freedom under communism. This is to remind people that history shall not and will not be repeated and I believe this is similar to those statues.

    So no, slavery is not racism. I expected that more people in Metea to be more educated. Alas, I was wrong.

  5. 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!

  6. Pablo Piqueso on October 6th, 2017 2:13 pm

    They were held to a different standard of living back then, the American people shouldn’t have to bow their heads to people they don’t have conflict with now.
    (also it’s not Española it’s Hispaniola)

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. Reddit Weeb on October 10th, 2017 11:35 am

    Upvoted ^

  11. Reality Doctor on May 18th, 2018 11:06 am

    Jeez man

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

    나는이 성명서에 매우 동의한다.

  13. Hello on October 13th, 2017 8:56 am


  14. 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.

  15. Common Sense on October 18th, 2017 7:34 am

    Literally every conqueror killed people.

  16. Christopher Gomez on October 20th, 2017 8:57 am

    To be quite frank all of those Native tribes were brutal enemies with each other and had been killing each other long before Colombus ever arrived. In all honesty, he brought peace faster that way then if he would have just left them to continue killing each other. And mind you these were the same natives that would stone, club and spear European women and children just because they looked different. So if you really look deep into it the natives were the brutal savages, not the Europeans.

  17. M on October 27th, 2017 10:00 am

    Take the U.S. Civil War for example. The country was split and fighting with each other. That doesn’t mean that another foreign country should’ve come and kicked everyone out of the country. This was the Native American’s land. They can take care of themselves. They do not need a foreign country to take everything away from them just because they are dealing with their OWN problems. The foreigners didn’t come to help and didn’t help at all. They came to settle in an area that they claimed was theirs but it really wasn’t. Columbus did not bring peace. Because peace isn’t killing inhabitants of a land. We celebrate Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving, the Native Americans HELPED the pilgrims. Sacagawea helped Lewis and Clark find the end of the Mississippi River. I am not calling either one a brutal savage, I am just disagreeing with your statement.

  18. Common Sense on October 31st, 2017 10:16 am

    Yes, but they were conquered. This is how every single civilization became one. They conquered others.

  19. The Voice of Reason on November 27th, 2017 5:48 pm

    Thank you! I mean think of what would have happened if we did leave the U.S under native control. I mean there would have been no allied victory during WWII ill say that…

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