Indigenous People’s Day replaces Columbus Day in many communities

Frontier Partisans

Sydney Lauer, Staff Reporter

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Many towns and major cities across the country will no longer be celebrating Columbus Day and will instead focus more on honoring those who did discover America and the indigenous people who occupied this land before us.

There has been a lot of discussion and debate around the idea of celebrating Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, as he was actually not the first European to discover America. Leif Erikson and his Vikings discovered the land centuries before when they tried to start a colony on the coast of present-day Canada.

Even before the Vikings, Native Americans had occupied the land thousands of years before Europeans touched down on the present-day Americas. Indigenous People’s Day, also the second Monday of October, will coincide with Columbus Day in order to honor and celebrate Native American culture and contributions made throughout history.

The holiday was first celebrated in 1992 in Berkeley, California, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus arriving in the Americas.

Although Columbus did pave the way for exploration of the New World and inspired many explorers to make similar discoveries, his actions also did more harm than good. Europeans brought over diseases such as smallpox and the flu which tore through Native American populations.

Europeans also conquered indigenous empires and enslaved native populations, either bringing them back to Europe or having them work in the colonies.

“I do believe that some credit should be given to Columbus because he did pave the way for exploration to the New World, but that does not excuse him from the heinous acts he committed that would be considered illegal today,” Jessica Sember, a senior at NHS, told The Greyhound News.

Despite having a lot of positives come out of Columbus’s discoveries, a lot of towns and cities across America are choosing to not celebrate the Italian explorer, and, instead, celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, honoring the people who occupied and discovered America first.

“I think that more light needs to be shed on those who truly discovered America. Instead of giving all the credit to Columbus, we should celebrate men like Amerigo Vespucci and other explorers who made the distinction that America was not India lile Columbus perceived,” said Allison Bolduc, also a senior at NHS.

Instead of giving kids the day off, Naugatuck Public Schools had students come into school on Columbus Day in order to give them the day before Thanksgiving, November 21st, off from school.

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