The controversy of Columbus Day


The Catalyst / Gabriela Custódio da Silva

Native Americans playing traditional woodwind instruments

Officially deemed a holiday on October 12th of 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Columbus Day holiday reigned until the present day.

Since then, controversy has arisen as to the accordance of the holiday: should it be recognized?

Originally, Columbus Day was a way to celebrate the 1492 landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Columbus was an Italian-born conquistador who dedicated many voyages to exploring the world, setting out to find Asia, including all its riches and treasures. Sailing with the permission of King Ferdinand of Spain, Columbus landed in the Bahamas. He became the first official European to reach this newly proclaimed continent, America.

Naming a holiday after any individual sheds a positive light on their legacy and impact on the world they lived in. This has lasting impacts seen in modern society, automatically branding this individual as a hero in the eyes of humanity.

For this reason, some people question the legitimacy of the holiday and whether Columbus’s legacy should be portrayed in such a pleasant light.

Why is this holiday so controversial?

The basis of this holiday stands on the fact that Columbus was the first individual to land on and discover America. Although we often forget it, there were inhabitants on this continent before Columbus’ famed voyage. Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of America; therefore completely invalidating the foundation of the holiday’s dedication to Columbus.

This holiday also continues to be controversial as it marks the era of European settlement in this new land. As the number of settlers entering America increased at frightful rates, more land was required for a larger population. The new settlers, known as the colonists, pushed and fought the Indigenous peoples out of their righteous and sacred homeland. This era of new European settlement led to the largest genocide of American history: the genocide of the Indigenous tribes, legacies, and individuals.

The holiday known as Columbus Day was founded to celebrate the man who first discovered America.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the fact that Columbus wrongfully eradicated Indigenous peoples, Columbus was not the first man to land on the American continent. Not only does the continuation of the holiday perpetuate inaccurate information for generations to come, but it commemorates a day that marked the beginning of a long period of Indigenous genocide.

Christopher Columbus was a ruthless conquistador with an agenda. Columbus was neither a hero nor a paragon.

Columbus Day should not be celebrated.

Do you think Columbus Day should be celebrated?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...