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Columbus Can Take A Seat. It’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Manhattan chapter.

Every year on the second Monday of October, American citizens celebrate Columbus Day with a Monday off from school or work. However, as a country we should be reminded of how terrible Columbus treated the Native American population, and how he did not discover The United States of America. 

First of all, Christopher Columbus did not even touch America. He got lost coming to India and died thinking he got there. Columbus was a mass murderer and rapist, who was responsible for the genocide of Indigenous people.  

“No words or numbers can adequately convey the scale of the horror and tragedy involved in the greatest sustained loss of human life in history. Still, it seems to this researcher that understanding the scope and dimensions of the Indigenous Holocaust is an important first step toward collective political action which addresses the needs, interests, and aspirations of Indigenous people today—and which ensures that such a holocaust will never happen again,” (Counting the Dead: Estimating the Loss of Life in the Indigenous Holocaust, 1492-Present., David Michael Smith University of Houston-Downtown). 

Now, many places are referring to this day as one of remembrance for those whose lives were lost, rather than a celebration of the person who caused this tragedy.

It took hundreds of years to bring attention to the day. However, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus Day in Berkeley, California things began to change.

“The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” beginning in 1992 to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the losses suffered by the Native American peoples and their cultures through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation,” (Indigenous Peoples’ Day, wiki.com).

Indigenous people all across America still suffer from the repercussions of this mass murder and separation. There is a great divide between the rest of the country and Indigenous people as they were forced to flee where they had lived to moved to reservations. As a country, we should be celebrating and teaching this day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day as opposed to Columbus Day.

“Indigenous Peoples Day offers an opportunity for educators to rethink how they teach what some have characterized as a “sanitized” story of the arrival of Columbus. This version omits or downplays the devastating impact of Columbus’ arrival on Indigenous peoples. Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity to reconcile tensions between these two perspectives,” says Susan C. Faircloth, an enrolled member of the Coharie Tribe of North Carolina and professor of education at Colorado State University. 

Angelica is so excited to be the leader of this chapter as Campus Correspondent at Her Campus at Manhattan! Originally from the Jersey Shore, Angelica is a senior at Manhattan College studying communication with a concentration in journalism and a minor in French. Angelica is also Features Editor of the campus newspaper The Quadrangle, Fashion and Beauty Editor of Lotus Magazine, and Secretary of Alpha Pi Phi Sorority. She currently interns at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the Brand and Customer Partnerships Department. You can hear Angelica hosting Soundtrack Sunshine, as she DJ’s for Manhattan College’s radio station WRCM. When she finds the time to breathe she likes to go for walks in Van Cortland Park, hang out at An Beal with friends, and watch her roomates dance at the basketball games. Angelica loves to write about anything from her deepest darkest feelings, trendiest clothes on sale, and hot button topics. She loves to share her experiences with all of you and hopes readers can take something from her insight. She encourages anyone with a story to tell to join Her Campus and take a chance on the best girl group in college! Happy reading :)