Columbus Day fades into obscurity

In history classes growing up, many people may have learned the rhyme: “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” While this may be a familiar phrase to many, the history behind Columbus and his celebration on the second Monday of Oct. has come into controversy in recent years. According to the World History Encyclopedia, Christopher Columbus is most well-known for his discovery of North America, specifically the current-day United States. The site also explains how the claim that Columbus discovered America originated from A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus by Washington Irving, which featured a “largely fictional” story that later became the basis for the establishment of Columbus Day as a United States’ holiday. According to USA Today, Columbus Day was first recognized as a national holiday in 1934 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. According to USA Today, the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas began to contemplate the potential replacement of Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day as early as 1990. highlights the many reasons controversy and questions that have risen over celebrating Columbus, including his violence, enslavement, and spread of disease to many Native Americans. According to CNN, several U.S. states now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, including: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, and Vermont. Some of these states have switched from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, while others continue to celebrate both. Do people feel that a change to Columbus Day is warranted? While many may not realize it, many Latin Americans may have indigenous heritage. Viviana Moreno, a member of the Latinos Unidos club at Joliet Junior College, has parents from San Luis Potosí, Mexico. While Moreno is unsure if she has indigenous heritage, according to, San Luis Potosí has an indigenous population, with the dominant group today being the Huastecs or Teenek. Moreno feels the celebration of Columbus in the United States is no longer appropriate. “When I was a kid, I would learn that Columbus discovered America, but what I didn’t know was that there was already people living here,” Moreno said. Moreno feels that a change to the holiday in the United States would bring some clarity to the real history of America. “I feel like it should be changed in all states because Students playing lotería. Copy Editor Erin Fagan little kids should know what actually happened,” Moreno said. Many Italian Americans argue that Columbus Day should still be celebrated because Columbus was Italian, but Moreno feels that it is only appropriate for Europeans to celebrate the holiday. “I think it’s only okay for Columbus Day to exist in Europe because Europeans should be proud that Columbus discovered a whole country or continent,” Moreno said. As of Oct. 10, 2022, President Biden declared the holiday as both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It seems that for now, the celebration of both holidays will continue.

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