Why we shouldn’t celebrate Columbus Day
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I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with the line, “In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” because for some reason when teaching history in school, somebody decided to credit Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer, Christopher Columbus, for discovering America. However, this is far from the truth.
According to History.com, a band of vikings were searching for the new world, and found America nearly 500 years before Columbus was even born. Before I get into the “why we shouldn’t celebrate Columbus day,” Im going to explain why we do.
The first Columbus Day was celebrated in 1792 in order to remember the historical landing’s 300th anniversary. Then in 1892, Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Americans to celebrate the voyage of Columbus. Why did he want us to show recognition to the man who didn’t even really discover America first? I have no idea.
I am convinced that America glorifies men for the “good” they have done for the country with total disregard for the bad that was implemented in order to make these things happen. Students are brainwashed everyday into recognizing the “great men” in American history without any knowledge of the murders and tyrannies of these individuals. Although I can list many examples of this, I’ll stick to the one in question: Christopher Columbus.
Let’s look at the facts. The most obvious one being he was not the first person to discover America. Besides the vikings, people also forget that their were already people inhabiting America at the time he decided to step foot in this country. The Native Americans were doing well before Columbus. They were organized into clans with their own spoken languages and had established leaders and means of trade. Some tribes even had specialized products. When Columbus came, he felt as though he could do whatever he liked with the natives, and he did. Immediately, he captured some of them whom he thought would make good servants and sent them to Spain to be sold. Some of them died on the way there. The rest were forced to work, mining for gold. About 60 years after Columbus landed in America, only a couple hundred of the native population was left of about an estimated 250,000.
They died from numerous things; mining, disease brought by the settlers, the brutal violence they underwent, and some even took their own lives to avoid being under Spanish rule. Death of the Natives also meant death of their languages, religions and culture. Those who didn’t die watched their homes be destroyed by the European settlers.
We should not celebrate a man who stole and destroyed people and their homes. We should not celebrate a man who saw nothing wrong with his wrongdoings. We should not celebrate a man who represents everything that is wrong with our country today. We should, however, celebrate the lives of the Natives. Everything they ever knew and loved was stripped away because one man was too ignorant to see the beauty of their culture and way of life.
It’s sickening to think we overlook the mass genocide that took place in a home that wasn’t even rightfully ours to begin with. So, instead of celebrating murder, we should celebrate the innocent people that died and learn from the past in order to make a better, more promising future.
Cici is a senior and sports editor of the newspaper. She is also the communications secretary for student government and is a member of the track team.