Columbus was an Italian who is known to discover America in 1492. Since the 18th century, Italian Americans have celebrated this day. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison commemorated the 400th anniversary of this day.
Later in 1934, the second Monday of October was officially announced as a federal holiday in the memory of Columbus Day.
However, recently, there is a big division between the Native Americans and Italian Americans regarding celebrating this day. Many started questioning why this day is observed and why Columbus Day must change to People’s Day.
Several reasons fed this thinking in Americans. One of the biggest concerns is that Columbus was not a native. He came from a faraway land and built his kingdom by massacring and enslaving Native Americans.
With time when the truth about the discovery of America came out, it made people realize that celebrating this holiday is redundant. Discovering something means ideation of a particular thing or finding something for the first time. However, when Columbus landed in 1492, there were people already living there. He just brought America into the spotlight.
According to the historical facts, Columbus was not the first non-American to land on the shores of the US. Many others came here even before he arrived.
Moreover, when Columbus arrived in America, he exploited and enslaved the natives. His journal gives pieces of evidence. It states, on the first day, he took over the land and used brutal tactics to terrorize the natives.
Due to his arrival, many European illnesses got introduced in America; for example, smallpox. The natives were not immune to this disease. This contagious illness turned into an epidemic and took the lives of millions of Native Americans.
Celebrating a person who brought disease and despair with him is no use in the opinion of the people of the US. This holiday glorifies a barbaric non-American rather than shedding light on the cultures and values that were present among the Natives.
It also devalues the Natives, as a murderer and an oppressor is being celebrated. All in all, it is now time to rethink celebrating this day. If a national day celebration has to happen on the second Monday of October, then it should honor Native Americans and the culture and values that they had at the time.