Columbus Day Greetings, which is celebrated annually on the second Monday of October to honor the Italian explorer credited with “discovering” the Americas, has always been somewhat of a questionable holiday. That’s because while Christopher Columbus stumbled after what we now called the Caribbean on October 12, 1492, he never set foot on the mainland – even on his subsequent three journeys. Besides, North America had already been “discovered” by the Native Americans, who got been living there for many generations.
Critics also maintain that the explorer had not been out there on a scientific “voyage of discovery, ” as has often been pictured, but on a mission to conquer and colonize the new land. The Spanish military, which Columbus brought after the initial trip, ruthlessly killed millions of native people who tried to resist. Those that made it were enslaved and forced to work in mines and plantations.
Indigenous Time celebrations in Berkeley, Ca (Photo Credit: By Quinn Dombrowski from Berkeley, CC by 2. 0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Hence, although the federal holiday has already been on the American calendar since 1937, it has never been observed in Alaska and Oregon. In South Dakota, it is celebrated as “Native United states Day, ” while Hawaii calls it “Discoverers’ Time, ” honoring the state’s Polynesian founders. As public awareness has grown, the popularity of Columbus Day Greetings has tapered off in other says as well, with only 25 currently listing it as an approved vacation. Numerous schools and colleges across the country have also stopped celebrating the event. A 2015 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that Columbus Day was the most inconsistently-observed US vacation.
However, many people were unhappy that the holiday was still named in honor of the Italian-born explorer. In 1977, a delegation of Native nations, at the International Meeting on Discrimination Against Local Populations in the Americas, proposed renaming Columbus Day time to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day time. ” They believed the change would give people the chance to honor the memory of the victims of the colonization, as opposed to glorifying the brutal cure of the Native Us citizens. Though the resolution passed by an overwhelming vast majority, convincing cities to change the name of the holiday was not as easy.
San Francisco followed Indigenous Day in January 2018 (Image Credit: #AbolishColumbusDay)
It took 15 years before the first city – Berkeley, CA – renamed Columbus Day Greetings to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1992. While Santa Cruz, CA, followed shortly after in 1994, it got another 22 years before Minneapolis, MN, Grand Rapids, MN, and Seattle, WA, did the same in 2014. Since that time, over seventy cities and states, as well as several universities nationwide, have switched to the new name. Among the latest to make the switch are San Francisco, CA, West Hartford, CT, and Lawton, OK.
The movement has additionally spread to Latin American countries. “Dia de la Raza, ” or “Day of the Race, ” as the day is called in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Uruguay, and Venezuela, honors the people and cultural influences ushered in by Christopher Columbus, rather than the explorer. Nevertheless, many feel it is a reminder of the past, and current struggles experienced by the indigenous populace. To acknowledge their predicament, Venezuela and Nicaragua call it up “Day of the Native Resistance. ” Argentina renamed the holiday, “Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity, ” while Chile transformed it to “Día del Descubrimiento de Dos Mundos, ” or “Day of the Encounter Between the Two Worlds. ”
Columbus Day Italian Heritage Parade In North Beach SF in 2011 (Photo Credit: Team at Carnaval. com Studios [CC BY 2. 0 via Wikimedia Commons]
Not everyone wants changing the name is essential. Italian Americans, who have made Columbus Day the focal point of the Italian language Heritage Month, celebrated throughout October, arguing that the holiday marks a brief history of immigration, not the explorer. They, therefore, believe the name should be retained or perhaps changed to something more suitable, like Italian Heritage Day. What do you think? Make sure to let us know by adding your comments below.
CAPTAIN CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS WAS a fifteenth and 16th-century explorer credited for connecting the particular Old World (Europe, Africa, and Asia) as well as the Brand new World (North America and South America).
Born within Genoa, Italy, in 1451, Columbus made his way to Spain, where he obtained support from the Spanish monarchy. He persuaded California king Ferdinand II and California king Isabella I to attract his quest to look for a westward path to China, India, and Japan—lands were then known as the Indies.
The monarchy considered Columbus’s journey as a chance to expand Spain’s trading network into the Indies’ productive economy. Proponents of the Catholic Church, the monarchy, also wished the voyage would help spread Christianity into the particular East.