Sure, it's great and courageous that one Christopher Columbus was courageous and ambitious enough, maybe foolhardy or even stupid enough to load up his rather tiny wooden ships and sail out on the ocean and what little he and we knew at that time, out to explore that ocean, those oceans and the world.
Sure. Naturally, any of us get that.
But it's what he then did, especially to the native people of those "new lands" that was then and still is, to this day, the problem.
His exploitation of those people and peoples, all because he thought they were "ignorant" or "savages" or whatever, was then and still is horrible. It was the beginning of the not just brutal but extremely brutal exploitation of indigenous people all across the continent. Here's just some information on it:
Columbus wasn’t a hero. When he set foot on that sandy beach in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, Columbus discovered that the islands were inhabited by friendly, peaceful people called the Lucayans, Taínos and Arawaks. Writing in his diary, Columbus said they were a handsome, smart and kind people. He noted that the gentle Arawaks were remarkable for their hospitality. “They offered to share with anyone and when you ask for something, they never say no,” he said. The Arawaks had no weapons; their society had neither criminals, prisons nor prisoners. They were so kind-hearted that Columbus noted in his diary that on the day the Santa Maria was shipwrecked, the Arawaks labored for hours to save his crew and cargo. The native people were so honest that not one thing was missing.
Columbus was so impressed with the hard work of these gentle islanders, that he immediately seized their land for Spain and enslaved them to work in his brutal gold mines. Within only two years, 125,000 (half of the population) of the original natives on the island were dead.
Forget that he didn't really "discover" the continent or people since Leif Ericson, as the article also points out, arrived here 500 years earlier or that "...the Native Americans discovered North America about 14,000 years before Columbus was even born! Surprisingly, DNA evidence now suggests that courageous Polynesian adventurers sailed dugout canoes across the Pacific and settled in South America long before the Vikings."
Check out the reason we even HAVE this holiday, celebrating Columbus.
Columbus Day, as we know it in the United States, was invented by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. Back in the 1930s, they were looking for a Catholic hero as a role-model their kids could look up to. In 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt signed Columbus Day into law as a federal holiday to honor this courageous explorer.
So let's move on, America. Let's wise up. Let's make this day what it ought to be. Let's start celebrating a national Indigenous Peoples' Day. It makes far more sense, is truer to history and it would celebrate a far bigger, better portion of why and how we're even here and the people that help make it happen. We owe them that. Heck, we owe it to ourselves.
Then, along with that, let's start helping Native Americans more fully as they most surely deserve and even need, as well.
The war against Columbus Day
You can possibly take action here: Transform Columbus Day