Columbus day creates confusion and controversy

Columbus day heads up controversy between Indigenous people and Americans


Savannah Hirsch, Reporter

Celebrating Columbus Day creates controversy for thousands of Americans because of a lack of information being spread. Many people only know the story of Christorpher Comubus as the hero who discovered America. The traditional story creates a historical icon to many Americans because he was one of the first to leave Europe and the East and expand civilization west. Students are not taught in elementary history class that when Columbus arrive he enslaved the native population, spreading diseases and forcing them into Christianity. Some people think that we need to celebrate him in his accomplishments as an explorer, others believe he was a reckless murderer.

In 1492 he sailed from El Palo Spain in an attempt to chart a new path to China, he actually landed in what is now known as San Salvador in the Bahamas.  Columbus Day was first celebrated in honor of Italian-American heritage and was held in San Francisco in 1869. History eventually uncovered itself and revealed Columbus in a very different light than Americans had previously seen him. Columbus began to capture the natives of the land as slaves to work for him and his crew traveling with him. Along with being taken away, they were poorly treated, many were killed. A large number of natives caught diseases introduced by Columbus and his crew and suffered till death while sailing to Spain to be sold as slaves.

Once the information was spread about what happened, Many states decided that they no longer supported Columbus Day and stopped celebrating the holiday. Now 55 cities and 4 states have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. People believed that it needed to become a day of celebrating the people who lived on the land before the arrival of Columbus and recognize them and their struggle through the history of this nation.

History teacher, Ms. Vicky Wilde said, “We should give him credit for being the first” to sail west and explore new land for expansion. She explained that it is important that we teach people the truth sooner about what he actually did in history. A huge factor in why we celebrate Columbus Day in America is based on misinformation. He never landed in America and shared dangerous diseases and sold Indigenous people as slaves, so why we still celebrate the date is mainly because we grew up being taught that he discovered North America and he was a pioneer in starting the country we now love, which is entirely inaccurate.

So should Columbus day continue to be celebrated? Many so yes, because Christopher was an example for others to move west. Others say no because he mistreated and killed many natives of the land and never actually discovered America.