The Columbus Day holiday has always been controversial. Observances are far from uniform across the country. South Dakota marks the occasion as “Native American Day.” Meanwhile in Denver, Colorado’s annual Columbus Day parade is met by protesters decrying the genocide of indigenous peoples. A post at Daily Kos offered a good chronicle of Christopher Columbus’s crimes against humanity and a good case for abolishing the holiday.
This video movingly furthers the case for the YouTube generation.
At the same time, many Italian-American communities fiercely defend Columbus Day, wanting to preserve the country’s most powerful symbol of the enormous contributions successive waves of Italian immigrants have made to the creation and evolution of America.
So, a more positive approach to going after Columbus may be the campaign for a National Holiday for Native Americans. It really seems like the least we can do. Despite the (toothless) 1990 Congressional resolution designating November National American Indian Heritage Month, the US has yet to honor the indigenous peoples of the Americas with a national holiday.
It seems only fair that if we are to call ourselves “Americans” we should honor and respect the first peoples of the Americas. So on this Columbus Day holiday, join the call for an Indigenous People’s Day.