March 29, 2010
Why Columbus Day Should Not Be a Holiday
Christopher Columbus has been viewed as a hero for several centuries. Children in elementary schools all over the nation are taught that he discovered America. However, there were many other people who were indigenous to the land already and the Vikings arrived in America almost 500 years before Columbus. Christopher Columbus, as it turned out, was responsible for widespread genocide; he permitted his men to rape, murder, mutilate and enslave indigenous people. The evil deeds of Columbus far outweigh the few accomplishments he achieved. It doesn’t make sense for the United States to recognize this supposed Christian with a national holiday, so America should stop celebrating Columbus Day.
The initial recorded Columbus Day celebration in the United States was on October 12, 1792. Nevertheless, the first official Columbus Day happened in 1892, when President Harrison issued a proclamation for Americans to commemorate the day. The Knights of Columbus lobbied state legislatures to legalize the holiday. Colorado did so on April 1, 1907. New York followed suit in 1909. In 1971, Columbus Day was designated as a federal holiday on the second Monday of October (Library of Congress).
Authors Peter McDonald and Lynn Anderson said, “Where the greatest need for re-education is apparent, is in understanding that the brutal vision of conquest which Columbus ushered in so long ago continues unabated to this day.” Columbus did not discover America as so many of us have been led to believe. The definition of discover is “to see, get knowledge of, learn of, find or find out; gain sight or knowledge of something previously unseen or unknown” (Random 563). Textbooks generally disregard his many crimes committed against humanity by intentionally omitting them, simultaneously magnifying his role as a great navigator. They glorify him and humanize him to induce...