A nationwide controversy has reignited across America as 14 states renamed Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. The debate over this move has sparked intense discussions. Here’s the full report.
Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day
The second Monday in October has long been a day of celebration in the United States. It traditionally honored Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World, but in recent years, an ongoing “woke row” has erupted, leading to Columbus Day becoming Indigenous People’s Day in 14 states.
A National Day’s Evolution
This transformation of the federal holiday, created in 1934, has gained momentum, with Indigenous Peoples’ Day replacing Columbus Day not only in 14 states but also in the District of Columbia and over 130 communities across the nation.
The Controversial Legacy of Christopher Columbus
The move reflects a shift in public sentiment, driven by Native American advocates who argue that Christopher Columbus is not an appropriate figure to celebrate.
Columbus’s Darker Side
Columbus, often credited with opening the doors to exploration and the subsequent European colonization of the Americas, carried a darker legacy.
Brutality and Devastation for Native Americans
He imposed brutal punishments on many Indigenous people, forcing them to mine gold under the threat of amputation or death if they fell short of his demands.
The consequences of Columbus’s arrival were devastating for Native Americans, with an estimated 95 percent population loss in the 130 years following first contact.
Columbus Statues Topple Across American Cities
The removal of Columbus statues has become a symbol of this reckoning. At least 33 cities, including Chicago, have taken down their Columbus statues.
In Chicago, the removal attempt in 2020 turned violent, with rioters attacking the police officers guarding the statue in Grant Park. Protesters used sharpened pipes, frozen water bottles, rocks, and other weapons against the police.
Italian Americans for Indigenous People’s Day
Danielle DeLuca, co-founder of Italian Americans for Indigenous People’s Day, has been at the forefront of efforts to replace Columbus Day since 2016.
DeLuca advocates for celebrating Italian Americans separately from Columbus Day, stating, “We cannot celebrate Italian Americans on a day that is honoring Columbus. You just cannot celebrate a perpetrator of genocide and victims of genocide on the same day.”
Defending Columbus Day
However, the decision to rename the holiday has sparked a backlash from those who oppose what they see as “woke” changes to cherished traditions.
New York councilor Vickie Paladino, an Italian-American, expressed her strong sentiments on social media, asserting, “Columbus Day will always hold a special place in my heart, and no amount of woke madness will take that away.”
Resistance to “Woke” Changes
She pledged to continue celebrating Columbus Day proudly and stood alongside her colleagues in opposing the erasure of Italian history in America.
Push to “Make Columbus Day Great Again”
Former Florida House of Representatives member Anthony Sabatini echoed this sentiment, declaring, “Happy Columbus Day! Florida must completely BAN the fake holiday “Indigenous Persons Day.” No more Woke “holidays.” Make Columbus Day Great Again!”
Advocates Push for Columbus Day Eradication
Despite the pushback, many advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ Day are calling for a broader shift away from Columbus Day altogether.
Removing Columbus Day From Our Vocabulary
Berkley professor Robert Reich emphasized this point, urging, “Today is Indigenous Peoples Day. Please remove Columbus Day from your vocabulary. May this year be the last we even have to make that distinction.”
As the debate rages on, renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day remains a divisive issue.
America’s Columbus Conversation
While some champion the change as a step towards acknowledging the darker aspects of history, others perceive it as a consequence of “woke” culture.
Regardless of where one stands on this matter, it’s clear that the conversation surrounding Columbus and his legacy continues to evolve in America.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Lund. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.