By: Osiah Taylor
Sep 23, 2021
The national holiday Columbus Day gets reformed.
Columbus Day, a national holiday in countries of the Americas and a federal holiday in the United States, is being reimagined as Indigenous Peoples’ Day: a holiday that honors and celebrates Native Americans and their histories and cultures established as an official city and state holiday across localities.
The second Monday of October has been Columbus Day as early as the year 1937. However, this changed in 1977 when participants at the United Nations International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas (UNICDIP) proposed that Indigenous Peoples’ Day replace Columbus Day, a holiday that has long hurt the Native community for unknowingly glorifying the skewered history involving 500 years of colonial oppression at the hands of European explorers.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day has the goal of unifying others as well as bringing awareness and understanding to problems afflicting communities. It is often people forget that Indigenous people in the past were devastated by diseases from Europe and removed from their tribal land as the United States expanded.
Demonstrations garnering support in numbers for Indigenous Peoples’ Day have taken shape and become commonplace as the holiday nears on October 11. Statues of the explorer have been destroyed and ravaged as people rally for recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an official holiday in the United States.
The initiative to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day has gained traction and disseminated to states, cities, and towns across the United States, as there is a growing awareness of the history associated with Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas.
Honoring and recognizing unique cultures, traditions, and lives of Indigenous people all over the world, Indigenous Peoples’ Day draws attention to the scars and wounds of Indigenous people caused by colonialism and genocide.