Columbus Day, Think About It

This is an interesting video asking folks across America to reconsider what Columbus Day represents and whether it is something to celebrate.

As October 12 approaches, I always wonder how it is for American Indians living on and off the reservations. Given that Columbus did not discover America and his arrival marked the beginning of an era of adversity and hardship for millions of indigenous peoples who were thriving on this land before Columbus ever stumbled upon it. Columbus did not even realize where he was; he believed he had reached the Indies and thus called the indigenous peoples here “Indians.”

In a September blog post, we noted that many states have already turned away from Columbus Day in favor of celebrating Native American Day. National Relief Charities has done this as well. The controversy around this day and the honoring of it remains very unresolved. For many Native and non-Native people, celebration of the day is offensive. Some of them are staging anti-Columbus Day protests this weekend.

The “Columbus cost” to American Indians was dear. It came in the form of lost lands, lost relatives, lost languages, lost freedom of religion, lost lifestyles, lost buffalo, lost right to self-determine, lost sense of identity, lost time, and many more uncountable and untold losses. It’s a fact that the loss of once thriving, self-sufficient communities and the state of conditions on many of the reservations today both had their start with Christopher Columbus. All of this is the Columbus cost and something all of America needs to know.

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