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Indigenous Peoples’ deserve recognition for their part in history

October 11, 2021

Indigenous Peoples’ Day arose as an alternative to Columbus Day, in which Native Americans protested for honoring a man who had enabled their colonization and forced assimilation. Essentially, the Indigenous people were oppressed by this man who happened to stumble on their land. Yet, Christopher Columbus is a glorified figure in United States history, and therefore, glorifying his violent actions enables people to miss what really happened in the eyes of Indigenous people. 

From the moment Columbus set foot in the Americas, he found ways to inflict harm upon the Indigenous people who lived there first. Columbus and his sailing crew damaged the land that did not belong to them to search for gold and kidnapped the people who lived there.

When Columbus found the land, now referred to as the Bahamas, the Lucayan people welcomed him and showed him kindness. Unfortunately, he quickly took advantage of that by kidnapping people from their homes and bringing them along while he sailed to find other lands. He eventually came across the Taíno people and continued on the same path of destruction by building a fort for members of his crew on their land, killing two more people, and bringing more Indigenous people along with him back to Spain. Sadly, the Taíno people who were kidnapped passed away once the ship sailed through colder climates. 

Along with directly killing Indigenous people, the Europeans brought many diseases that the Taíno people were not immune to, such as smallpox and measles. According to The Smithsonian Magazine, three million people could have possibly died, either from starvation, being killed, or contracting an illness that had no cure at that time. Those things could have either been prevented or put off for many years had Columbus and his group not colonized land that did not belong to them. 

It does not make sense to honor the murderer and rapist of this situation but rather the victims who were just minding their business in a society that they created for themselves.

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