By Cooper Graham
Indigenous Peoples’ Day took place earlier this week on Monday, October 9th, the same day as Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a counter-celebration to Columbus Day, acknowledging Native Americans and their history. Instituted in 1992, it has spread to numerous cities and states, taking the place of celebrating Columbus Day entirely.
In the past, Columbus Day was a day of observance, making it a day off for businesses and schools. Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, South Dakota and Vermont don’t even recognize Columbus Day as a day of observance. This brings up the question of whether Columbus Day should be celebrated at all in the US.
The celebration of Columbus Day has been a provocative subject for many years, and with good reason, too. Indigenous Peoples’ Day should be celebrated in place of Columbus Day. There’s something that seems wrong about celebrating a man and his crew for treating Natives with such disrespect that animals had it better than them.
They were made to do labor for Christopher Columbus and his men. They were abused and dealt with such punishments as cutting their hands off for not collecting enough gold. They were pretty much taken advantage of in almost every practical way possible because they were seen as primitive and uncivilized to the Italian explorer and his crew.
These are some of the reasons why Indigenous Peoples’ Day was made. People realized how sick and demented it seemed to acknowledge a man who committed mass genocide and who wasn’t even the first explorer to set foot in the Americas. They wanted to acknowledge the Natives’ side of history, and also celebrate and recognize their culture. And what better way to do that than make a new holiday.
While the holiday is still relatively new, it’s getting support from all around the nation and other parts of the world. People are becoming more aware of the nonsense behind the popular celebration of Columbus Day over Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Many supporters of this holiday celebrating Native Americans hope that it will take the priority over Columbus Day, or even take its place entirely.
Columbus Day protestors holding up signs against the celebration of Columbus Day. (Photo courtesy of AL.com).