By Kate Bennett
Across the country, Americans spend the second Monday of October celebrating Columbus Day. Why? Because it is a federal holiday and typically a day off from work and school. But does Columbus really deserve his own day? I don’t think so.
As children, we were taught that Columbus is renowned for discovering America and establishing civilization on the new land, and therefore should be celebrated and honored. In elementary school I was taught that Columbus found America, befriended the natives, and then society developed from there. Columbus was made out to be a hero, and the starting point for our country.
Later on, I learned the truth. Columbus and the Native Americans hadn’t gotten along so well, as he enforced his ideals and plans upon the land. In the FIG class I took at SMCC, I learned the truth about Columbus. If I’m being honest, Columbus was straight-up evil. Columbus began the process of colonizing the land that was already home to native people. Apparently he thought of himself as being superior to the native people. Columbus would punish the Caribbean Native Americans’ by cutting off body parts, including their noses and ears, both of which I find especially disturbing. Columbus would enforce punishments if someone did something against him. For example, if someone stole from him he might have punished them by cutting off one of their hands.
Columbus is not worthy of being recognized on the federal level every year. He destroyed the Native Americans’ culture and does not deserve this level of recognition. Instead, we should be recognizing the native people of this country by celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day would be a day to recognize the Native Americans, because they were the actual start of society here in America. From Columbus’s aggressive actions towards the Native Americans to the Native Americans losing most of their land and being forced into a culture that wasn’t their own, Native Americans have gone through a lot since people started migrating to their land. Instead of Columbus, Native Americans deserve to be recognized federally by changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Some cities have already started making this change, one of them being Portland, Maine.