Columbus Day is here again, still inspiring parades and celebrations and a day off for those whose employers honor this bizarre, embarrassing national holiday.
But this year is different. In 2018, we see unmistakable trends that indicate a national movement to shun any and all adulation for Christopher Columbus. The realization that the 15th Century explorer was responsible for murders, slavery, mass rape and the spread of deadly disease is finally setting in.
The incremental change became especially noticeable in recent days when officials in Columbus, Ohio – the largest city in America (population 860,000) named after the Italian explorer – decided to stop observing the holiday in favor of Indigenous People’s Day.
That label recognizes the native inhabitants of America and the Caribbean islands who were victimized by the brutality of Columbus and his crew and who inhabited the “New World” 14,000 years before 1492.
Just this year, at least a dozen U.S. cities, from San Francisco to Cincinnati, stopped observing Columbus Day and instead today they celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. Dozens of other cities and entire states including Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont and Oregon, have also replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October. In Hawaii today, they’re celebrating Discoverers’ Day. South Dakota celebrates Native American Day.
For those who refuse to believe the unvarnished truth about Columbus, check out the myth-busting essay on the quirky website The Oatmeal. It’s based on A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, and Lies My Teacher Told Me,
by James W. Loewen, both of which use primary sources such as eyewitness
accounts, journal entries, and letters from Christopher Columbus himself.
The piece is also worth exploring because of its fascinating suggestion that Columbus Day should be replaced with Bartolome Day. No hints. Just read.