We're taught since the day we walk into our elementary schools that Christopher Columbus discovered the "new world." Honestly, if I could rewind time to the first grade and raise my hand to ask how the world was "new" when millions of people already lived there and he literally greeted them as soon as if he got off his stupid boat. I would be the smartest little first grader in America.
We've been taught since the day we could read a history textbook that "in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue." While the poem is cute, sing-songy and innocent, it is far from the truth and glamorizes and masks the death of millions of indigenous people. History needs to stop being watered down to distort the horrors of imperialism and colonialism. I know "in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue" sounds a lot better than "Christopher Columbus was a tyrant murderer who is celebrated nationally for literally getting lost," but it is so important not to lose history by falsifying and manipulating the cold hard truth. History is not meant to be cute especially when humans are prone to repeat mistakes.
The consequences of diluting misfortunes and exploitation to fit the criteria of youthful appearances are detrimental and a huge violation of George Orwell's warnings. In his novel "1984," he says, "The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history," and he has a point.
Did you know that Columbus Day is considered one of the ten official federal holidays in the United States? I'm not kidding. The annihilation, displacement, and enslavement of millions of indigenous people is literally celebrated on a list with New Year's Eve, Christmas, Martin Luther King Day, and the Fourth of July.
It's insanely ironic as a country to praise someone like Martin Luther King (a Civil Rights Activist who played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African Americans in the United States, but was literally assassinated for demanding the constitutionally given and human given right of equality) as well as Christopher Columbus (an exploring invader who enslaved a whole race of women, men, and children, plagued them and forced them into labor, for the sake of finding gold). I'm out of breath, but yup. America's did it. Obviously, they are nothing alike and their influences on America are incomparable but they both are considered enough of a reason to be celebrated as a national holiday.
It's clear which holiday we should abolish and replace on America's Time 100 "Most Influential People of All Time: Federal Holidays Worth Celebrating." "Columbus Day" deserves to be annihilated and changed to "Indigenous People Day" to properly turn the spotlight off of Christopher Columbus, the explorer who explored and exploited a land of millions of people and give recognition to the lives lost due to the selfish, reckless and inhumane actions of him and his crew.
Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, and South Dakota are U.S. states that do not recognize Columbus Day at all, though Hawaii and South Dakota mark the day with an alternative holiday or observance. South Dakota is the only state to recognize Native American Day as an alternate. I feel as if it's important to halt the distorted rendition of Columbus in the history textbooks of children to eliminate the glorification of colonialism and genocide.
I feel as if it's important for the nation as a whole to recognize that Columbus Day should not be a holiday and recognize that by celebrating it we are extolling the lost lives of millions of human beings. Instead of celebrating Columbus Day we should recognize the lives lost due to these imperialistic actions and pay tribute to the Native Americans who have long since suffered and are still suffering the unfair repercussions created by the arrival of European newcomers.
Sorry Chrissy, but the ship has sailed, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria will no longer be glorified or diluted in history textbooks across the nation. "In 2018, indigenous people's history will be seen." It's got a ring to it, doesn't it?