Discussing the move to officially change the name of Columbus day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Many students grow up knowing Oct. 9 as Columbus Day, and either look forward to the holiday to miss school, or listen to teachers discuss Christopher Columbus inaugural discovery of America.
Contrary to popular belief, Columbus and his crew were not the first humans to call America their home.
Native American tribes inhabited North America for centuries before Columbus arrived, and their societies were complex and numerous. Columbus and other voyagers’ arrival marked the beginning of one of the largest massacres to occur on North American soil.
Columbus would kill Native people if they did not comply in giving up their land and supplies. He wished to show himself and Europe superior to the natives.
Because of Columbus’ mistreatment of Native Americans, many people are calling for a change of name.
Senior psychology major Stephanie Copeland’s family descended from the Cherokee people that resisted or avoided relocation under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forced Native Americans out of their land after President Andrew Jackson granted Native lands to white settlers.
The Indian Removal Act resulted in the massacre of even more natives as white settlers forced them from their land and moved them to designated Indian territory.
“I do not think that it is right to honor the founder of the transatlantic slave trade with a national holiday in the same way that we honor Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.,” Copeland said. “Honoring indigenous people instead gives them a chance to express the culture that was stifled by Columbus’s ‘discovery’ and subsequent enslavement and murder of their people.”
Many states have already made the move from Columbus day to Indigenous Peoples Day. In an article published by TIME Minnesota, Vermont, Alaska and South Dakota have all officially made the switch to remove Columbus day from the holiday and begin celebrating those this country originally belonged to.
TIME also listed other cities that have made the change as well: Los Angeles and Burbank, California; Seattle, Washington; and Denver, Colorado among the many.
“I think that’s a great idea considering what Columbus did to the native people he encountered,” Copeland mentioned. “I do not think that it is right to honor the founder of the transatlantic slave trade with a national holiday in the same way that we honor Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.”
The argument concerning whether South Carolina will join the number of states that have officially made the switch is still underway, but many citizens have already unofficially begun the change.