Columbus day- Should it be Considered a Federal Holiday?

Columbus day- Should it be Considered a  Federal Holiday?

Victoria Ojeda Gomez, contributor

As of 2021, there are still 20 states that recognize Columbus Day as a federal holiday. Twenty states, that is almost half the country. Columbus day should not be recognized anywhere. No one should be regarding a genocidal maniac such as Christopher Columbus as a “hero.” In case anyone forgot, the psychopathic murderer known as Columbus is the catalyst for wiping out over 90 percent of Indigenous people (which is about 55 million people), due to him and his men bringing disease and violence. If he hadn’t caused all this horror and genocide, Indigenous People today wouldn’t have to deal with poor water and living conditions, being ruthlessly mocked and being robbed of their identities. Unfortunately, people still have the NERVE to acknowledge and dress up literal GENOCIDE and COLONIZATION as some little “day off”, acting like there aren’t people alive TODAY still dealing with the trauma and ramifications of Columbus’ murder spree. Bear in mind, we are talking about millions of cultures and identities that were stolen. Hair that held spiritual significance, cut. Diverse languages that were spoken amongst many, erased. Practices that have been passed down through generations, mocked and stripped away. Nowadays, Indigenous societies are forced to deal with horrendous living conditions, addiction, and most importantly the cases of the murdered/missing indigenous women that go swept under the rug. All while non-indigenous people blissfully and ignorantly enjoy their days off and Italian-Americans get to celebrate their “Italian pride” through their parade in New York City. 

 However, states have been taking down Columbus’ statues and President Biden even acknowledged Indigenous People’s Day. But simply recognizing it and taking down a few statues isn’t enough. How is simply saying “I’m doing the bare minimum by recognizing that Native Americans need to be treated like people”, going to make their lives easier? Talk is cheap, and it won’t replace this horror story of a holiday and it especially won’t make Indigenous People’s Day a federal holiday. Unlike Columbus Day, there is no reason NOT to officiate it. “Indigenous People’s Day is an opportunity to reconcile tensions between these two perspectives”, according to the article by Susan C. Faircloth. “Why Indigenous People’s Day is replacing Columbus Day in many places”, which also states that Indigenous People’s Day allows educators to think about the watered-down way they teach their students about Columbus’ invasion. 

 Hopefully, many students can recall how we were taught about Columbus and how the day came to be; he just swoops in, becomes chill with the natives, and boom, everything is all fine. Teachers, is this how you think a murderer should be remembered? Not to even mention the fact that he never even set foot in any of the 50 states, nor was he even American, and to add insult to injury, he absolutely could not have “discovered America”, since the Native Americans were already living there first! And yet he is regarded as some sort of “American hero”? Do they have any idea how detrimental that is to native youth? Continuously being exposed to blatant racism and disgusting stereotypes, while teachers and other educators across the country appropriate native culture as they worship this hideous monster known for causing one of the worst genocides in history. All while, ignoring his lengthy list of crimes including, initiating slavery, torturing natives, taking advantage of young Native girls, and mass genocide.

Indigenous People’s Day replacing Columbus Day would be a small, but necessary step in the right direction to dismantling the negative stereotypes and spread awareness regarding the issues that run rampant in many native communities. Again, simply remembering that indigenous people’s day and indigenous people exist, although important, is doing the bare minimum, but it’s a start nonetheless. Only through education, donating, and passing the right bills, can we finally make life easier for indigenous people everywhere. Hopefully, we can celebrate Indigenous lives while we abolish Columbus Day and remember Christopher Columbus for who he really was; one of the world’s first terrorists whose legacy continues to destroy lives to this very day.