Should We Be Celebrating Columbus Day in 2023?
What our schools taught us when we were younger is that a man named Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, is the founder of America in 1492. However, this is actually not true. Christopher Columbus didn't discover North America, there were already people on American soil before that.
For reasons we may not know, we are taught this in school, giving us false information. Christopher Columbus actually was going farther South of his voyage towards Central and South America.
So then, why do we celebrate Columbus day? Columbus day was created by President Harrison in 1892 in response to the lynching of 11 Italian Americans. Columbus was Italian and therefore became honored for “discovering America.” Though lynching is not justified, there isn’t really a reason now in days for us to be glorifying a man who didn’t truly discover America.
His arrival in America resulted in the colonization and mistreatment of Indigenous people. This had very negative consequences, including loss of land, resources and lives for Indigenous people. Columbus’s arrival left a mark on humanity for Indigenous populations and resulted in suffering and displacement for them as well.
Having Columbus Day be a U.S. federal holiday glosses over the negative impacts and doesn’t acknowledge the full history that went behind it. In 2023, Columbus Day should not be celebrated and instead the U.S. should fully implement the Indigenous peoples holiday to honor those who had been here first, and lost many parts of their life because of Columbus.
It is important to truly recognize and respect the Indigenous peoples and find a way for us to alternate ways to commemorate this period of history, because celebrating Columbus day is seen as a symbol of colonization and oppression of indigenous groups.
Photo credits from Flickr