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How slanted is this? No, don't change Columbus Day. It should be a celebration of exploration and recognition of the accountability that comes with it. CREATE A NEW HOLIDAY UNIQUELY HONORING THE MULTIPLICITY OF CULTURES THAT EXISTED -- Don't change a much ignored holiday just to create controversy and once again make Americans apologize for our history. Better yet, invest in Native American communities (with things like better education) on a daily basis TODAY! They need to be valued for who they are as much as celebrating their history.
This is difficult for me to believe as altruistic or even credible for a public education website. In that I whole heartedly agree with First Nations Peoples that there should be no recognized day for Columbus who did not "discover" this land and was therefore wrongfully accredited and rewarded for it, you cannot speak for Indigenous people who have sovereignty. I also do not believe Thanksgiving is proper because of similar original lies. November is National Native American Heritage month and I know few First Nation's or organizations who use that "allotted observance time" to do anything "special". If you had a National holiday for First Nations' and prepared them a big feast, do you think that they would come and share that food in celebration?
Please get real about the history and current living conditions of Indigenous People!
I feel that teachers need to include both sides of the story. Especially offensive to me are the breakfasts or meals held by many elementary teachers who have students dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians where the Native Americans wear headbands with a feather sticking up in the back. This is appropriate for Plains tribes whom Columbus never met. If this type of experience is done culturally appropriate "clothing" should be used.
There even is much controversy about the term Native American vs. Indian. In WI most tribe members want to be called Indians. I learned this at a conference presentation led by members of local Indian community.
Secondly, there is controversy as to whether Thanksgiving was even held as thought. Educators should check out "Rethinking Schools" in Milwaukee, WI.
They published "Rethinking Columbus" many years ago. This was a real eye opener.
While Columbus was part of the age of discovery everything should be taught in perspective. The Eurocentric viewpoint is just that, a viewpoint and only part of the story. We need to give students the perspective of different cultures.
If we want to honor Native Americans let's do it in an intentional and meaningful way...not simply exchanging "Columbus Day" for a "Native American Day". More to the point let's be honest with ourselves and in what we teach our children about our history and the great potential this country has when we truly honor all.
Rockford Area Arts Council
While I agree that Columbus is not the "hero" that history has reported him to be, he is not necessarily the evil tyrant, either. I do like the idea of teaching children the whole truth, including his darker side, but demonizing him for acting in a way that was considered appropriate for the times is just as irresponsible as lionizing him. Contextually he was no different than any other explorer in his day.
On the other hand, Columbus Day has become more than a day of remembrance for the notorious explorer - it is a celebration of Italian Americans and their contribution to our American culture. As an Italian American, I would oppose the loss of that celebration! If we were to consider changing the holiday - I'd vote for Italian American Day!
I don't think Columbus day should be designated as Native American day. To just rename the day will make individuals continue to think that Columbus "discovered" America. If Columbus day was renamed Explorer's day that might work- because we should acknowledge all the explorer's of the America and the world because they help build our knowledge of the world we live in and the universe.
Native Americans were here living in the Americas long before Columbus came. Why not continue to celebrate Native American month (November) and focus upon their history and their culture and lives today. I think we would be stereotyping Native Americans if we changed the name of the day to Native American day.
In many parts of the Americas and around the world, Columbus Day is recognized as a national day of mourning for First Nation Peoples. The death, disease, destruction, and pillaging that explorers like Columbus brought to the "New World" is horrifying. Once you understand the enormity of what was done, and is continued to this day, you realize that at the very least, we need to change Columbus Day.
It is time we acknowledged in our education of our young that the day that Columbus "discovered America" is looked upon by our native peoples as the beginning of their destruction. We took their land, gave them diseases that killed them, killed their women and children, violated the treaties we made with them and relegated them to reservations in a land that had been theirs prior to the coming of those who "settled" this country.
There is so much "selective memory" when it comes to our history.
I have often asked teachers of social studies and history if they are aware that Native Americans (not "Indians") could not practice their religion in our country until 1978. I have yet to find one who is aware of the Native American Freedom of Religion Act (1978) which gave Native Americans the freedom to practice their religion without being arrested.
There is much to learn from and about these great people, many of whom still live on reservations that compared to the rest of this land, resemble third world countries.
We have a moral imperative to refocus our celebration of Columbus Day on those who lost a way of life as a result of his great "discovery".
Let's convert Labor Day into Native American Day. The true meaning of Labor Day was lost in this country about 50 years ago. Very few people honor Labor Day as anything more than the end of summer. Native American culture has far more to offer as a celebration of American values in the 21st century. Columbus may not have been the first or the wisest, but his actions represent a major turning point in the history of the Americas. It is precisely all the issues that his exploration raised that make it such an important time to remember. Holidays are more than celebrations, they are also times to reflect.
I think it's important for students to try to get an understanding of the world as it existed both in white Europe and in native America and the effects of those two worlds meeting. But it shouldn't be called Columbus Day because that's completely from one perspective. Native Americans Discovery Day is a bit ambiguous - maybe nicely so....