Can't we have both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day?

There's a saying (but I don't know who first said it), that in order for me to win, you must lose.

How else can anyone see the trend to replace Columbus Day with an Indigenous Peoples Day? Why not, as some jurisdictions do, have both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples days, on different days?

Nope, nope. Can't do that. To recognize Indigenous Peoples, you've got to discredit, degrade, destroy and disgrace Columbus. And portray all who celebrate his great achievement as cruel and iniquitous.

As Baley Champagne a tribal citizen of the United Houma Nation said, told NPR:

"It's [Indigenous Peoples Day] become a trend," Champagne said. "It's about celebrating people instead of thinking about somebody who actually caused genocide on a population or tried to cause the genocide of an entire population. By bringing Indigenous Peoples' Day, we're bringing awareness that we're not going to allow someone like that to be glorified into a hero, because of the hurt that he caused to Indigenous people of America."

Very well. Columbus did some horrible things to people he considered to be less than human savages.

But let me ask: If it wasn't for Columbus, would America's (if I am permitted to use the term) Indigenous People have been left

Devil or hero? Both?

Devil or hero? Both?

alone? Wouldn't other Europeans, who like the Arabs explored the world far and wide, eventually have "discovered" America. If anyone else had, would anything have changed?

What we don't hear is how a technologically advanced nation was supposed to have ignored, nor even looked for, undiscovered land. Are we supposed to believe that pre-Columbian North and South America were free from disease and war and that violence and deadly diseases were introduced to these shores only by the arrival of Columbus?

My problem with thumping Columbus is (1) he did not "cause" all the bad stuff that followed, and (2) his voyage into the unknown was an heroic act of courage, navigation, organization and, yes, discovery. A challenge to the "flat-Earthers" of the day. And a point of pride for millions of Italian Americans (but they don't count, do they?).

So, let the two days live in coexistence. Let's celebrate the heroic deed of discovery that has motivated mankind throughout history. As well as recall the  contributions of Indigenous Americans to our culture and the evils committed against them.

Isn't it time, five centuries later, to figure out how to get along?

 

Comments

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  • Thank you for this forgiving and sensitive piece, Dennis. Well done. Just because we have a new sensitivity doesn't mean getting rid of what we once celebrated. Have a good day, whatever you call it!

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    The only reason Columbus Day is still celebrated in Illinois and other states is the political power of Italians. But as that power dissipates through the years Columbus Day will be no longer recognized.

  • In reply to Ken Dietz:

    I've never understood the argument that Columbus Day celebrates Italians. There are many great Italians over the centuries far more deserving than this employee of the Spanish crown. I think it is clear that what we are celebrating is the European conquest of the western hemisphere.

  • When I find out who exactly the indigenous people were in America I will celebrate. I'm still upset that the Mound Builders were apparently driven from existence by some invaders. Just look what they could do with a bunch of dirt.

  • The heck with the PC and stupid 'woke' crowd. I'll stick with Columbus Day and I'm not Italian.

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