Columbus Day falsely represents its ideals


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia under Creative Commons License

This is a painting of the explorer Christopher Columbus by artist Sebastiano del Piambo. Columbus is said to be the first European in the Americas and many argue how he should be remembered due to his unethical actions.

Daniel Nam and Sumaya Zahid

Columbus Day, a national holiday that is celebrated on the second Monday of October, is a day to honor the life of the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus who “discovered” the Americas in 1492. However, there is controversy surrounding the celebration of the holiday, as Columbus harmed those who were previously living in the Americas.

Growing up, many of us were taught to see Columbus as a hero who discovered the Americas and is the reason why we are here today. But in reality, there is far more to it than just that. His intent was to find another route to Asia, not the Americas. Once in the Americas, he started taking advantage of the resources around him. Enslaving hundreds of natives and sending them back to Spain, he played an important role in their history and changed life there forever. He brought with him diseases which destroyed populations, and he killed whoever resisted his Spanish colonies. We as Americans see him as a heroic founding figure, but his actions make us question otherwise.

If we want to honor a group of individuals, it should be the indigenous people. They were the ones that suffered and were impacted the most due to the actions of Columbus. In an attempt to solve this problem, many cities and states have recognized a new holiday-Indigenous Peoples’ day-which was first celebrated in 1992.

However, controversy surrounds this new decision, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day  is on the second Monday of October- the same day as Columbus Day. It is highly disrespectful to have ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’ and Columbus Day on the same day. If we’re going to dedicate a day to the indigenous people of America, we should not place it on the same day that celebrates the figure that impacted them so negatively. We should let them have a day to celebrate without  thinking about their horrific past and just be proud of who they are. In the end, as a country, it’s important to give credit to and acknowledge the people who were here before us. There were mistakes made by individuals in the past, but as a country, we should be able to move on from our past mistakes and make changes where all backgrounds are respected and honored.