Ask most school children about Christopher Columbus. They’ll tell you Columbus “discovered” America.
But how could he discover it if there were already indigenous cultures thriving in this hemisphere?
You could say that Columbus’ “discovery” eventually led to the decimation of indigenous cultures, and that is not something we should celebrate.
Many Latin American countries mark Oct. 12 as Día de la Raza, a day to celebrate the meeting of the Europeans and the native people.
In the United States, it has taken on a more political meaning as a way to celebrate Latino heritage and not the arrival of Columbus.
Some schools no longer give a day off for Columbus Day.
Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle schools were open. But Chicago public schools were closed.
A recent survey of what is taught about Columbus by the Department of Education found some schools still use outdated materials and some contained demeaning depictions of the native populations, according to an Associated Press story.
On the other side, in one Pennsylvania school they put Columbus on trial and sentenced him to life in prison, according to same story.
This is a cause for concern and we shouldn’t be teaching our students just one narrow view of history.
I think when we teach the legacy of Columbus we should have a balanced view of what that means.
It shouldn’t be just about parades. If some people
want to remember Columbus as a hero, that it is their right to do so.
It’s a free country.
But let’s also remember the legacy of colonialism and the death and destruction of the native people in all of the Americas.