November 28

Blog #115 – Columbus Day – keep it or pitch it?

Christopher Columbus is credited with having discovered the New World in 1492, but not necessarily America (even though a lookout on his ship, Rodrigo, claimed that he saw land first).  How people interpret this fact is the subject of intense historical and cultural debate across the world.  The day honoring the discovery, October 12, is a national holiday, but for some historians and cultures, this day is marked as one when Spanish imperialism and genocide of the Native Americans began.

Those who want to discredit Columbus Day usually start with the wave of violence, slavery and genocide of the Native Americans that began after his “discovery.”  On the island of Hispanola (Haiti / Dominican Republic), the sailors left there after his first voyage were tasked with finding gold and silver and soon tried to put to work the natives of the island.  In subsequent voyages, he searched Central and South America for gold, and the communicable diseases like smallpox and measles that the Europeans had would also wipe out – intentionally or not – the Native populations.  Conquistadors Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro exploited divisions among the ruling tribes, Aztecs and Incas respectively, to conquer vast empires.  It’s estimated that something like 80% of the 45-100 million Native Americans (historians disagree – Schweikart claimed that there were only 8.5 million Natives in all of the Americas when Columbus arrived) who lived in the New World were wiped out by disease, war, and famine brought on by discovery.  Critics have claimed that the holiday should be renamed “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” to honor all the Native Americans past and present.  In the Zinn section, he outlines the systematic destruction of the Arawak people and how they were eliminated through forced slavery, mining, and diseases.

Here’s John Oliver’s take on Columbus Day:

But was this all Columbus’ fault?  His defenders say, of course not.  Diseases act in random ways and are influenced by many things including stress, food (or lack thereof), poverty and other cultural or economic factors.   Discovery could have brought some of these conditions on, but they weren’t necessarily the primary cause.  Schweikart stated in his piece that there were already different diseases running rampant throughout the Native population before Columbus’ arrival.  Columbus is also given credit for having been a visionary, having convinced the Spanish monarchs to provide him with three ships to sail the Atlantic in search of a newer, quicker route to Asia around the earth.  In fact, Columbus failed in his attempt to find that quicker trade route to Asia.  It would be Magellan who would circumnavigate the globe.  And, Columbus is being blamed for what came in his wake – the Spanish conquistadors, the destruction of Native peoples, and even the African slave trade since that was linked with the opening up of the New World.  Could this attack on Columbus also be a remnant of the Black Legend that grew to fantastical proportions as exaggerated by English Protestants as a way of discrediting the Spanish Catholics?  Too much, much too much indeed, to put on one man’s shoulders.

Another way of looking at this is that when we celebrate Columbus Day, we celebrate America.  Should we acknowledge both the good and the bad that come with America / Columbus?  Or is it more patriotic to revel in America in a “Team America” way with unquestioning loyalty? Or, as the video below discusses, Columbus is a myth that we have embraced.  Is this something that we should jettison?

So, do we keep Columbus Day as is (meaning that it’s an official government / bank holiday)?  Or do we acknowledge Columbus Day with a solemn reminder of what happened to the Native Americans afterwards?  Or do we pitch Columbus Day in favor of celebrating “Indigenous People’s Day”?  Why?  Or is there another option?  If so, explain.  Please use specific examples from the Schweikart / Zinn readings.  

300 words minimum due by Friday (11/30) by class.

Here’s an account of Detroit’s first celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of Columbus Day –

A Smithsonian article about replacing Columbus Day w/ Indigenous Peoples’ Day –

A video on why we celebrate Columbus Day (some good reasons about the history of Columbus Day):

The Breakfast Club’s discussion of Columbus Day – Why Native Americans Want to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and not Columbus Day.

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Posted November 28, 2018 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

54 thoughts on “Blog #115 – Columbus Day – keep it or pitch it?

  1. Roni Blank

    Columbus Day is a national holiday that’s observed in many places in Europe and the Americas. It celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World on October 12, 1492. The celebration of Columbus’s journey is recorded from as early as 1792. A continues and rigorous debate has continued for many years about whether Columbus deserves this honor or whether the holiday should be made Indigenous Peoples’ Day in order to honor the ones who were here first, the Indians. After learning more about Columbus and the impacts of his voyage, I conclude that Columbus day should indeed be made Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

    Columbus’ supporters claim that Columbus embodied the best of the new generation of navigators: He was resilient, courageous, and confident (Schweikart + Allen pg 3). They believe that he was brave and by discovering America, he led to an era of prosperity. Columbus’ discovery also led to a transcontinental trade between the Americas, West Africa, and the Old World in the 15th and 16th centuries. Columbus’ supporters look mainly on the positive side and outcomes of the trade: Maize, potatoes, and tomatoes were all brought for the first time to Europe. They all became very important crops in Europe by the 18th century. Potatoes eventually became an important part of the diet in much of Europe, contributing to about 25% of the population growth in Afro-Eurasia between 1700 and 1900. Maize became one of Africa’s most important food crops. Tomatoes completely transformed Italian cuisine. Supporters also often mention the Spaniards’ stunning victory over vastly larger Aztec forces (Schweikart + Allen pg 5). The correctly state that the Aztecs were extremely brutal but wrongly attribute their properties to all of the Indians. Furthermore, they claim that Native populations had epidemics long before Europeans arrived, implying that sickness in the New World was not Columbus’ fault and that Columbus killed few Indians (Schweikart + Allen pg 6).

    Even though Columbus’ voyage had multiple positive outcomes, the journey had many more negative consequences. First, Columbus himself was a fairly bad person: The first man to sight land was supposed to receive a large reward. On October 12, a sailor named Rodrigo saw land and cried out. However, Columbus claimed he had seen the land first and received the reward (Zinn pgs 9-10). This shows that Columbus was a liar. His ungratefulness for the Arawak Indians’ generosity (Zinn pg 10) and his bad treatment of them show that he was cruel and brutal. His known aim of the journey was: slaves and gold, which proves he was superficial.
    Next, the cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide of the Indians (Zinn pg 12). Indians were forced into slavery. They ordered all Indians 14 and older to collect gold. When the Indians weren’t able to find that amount of gold, the Spanish brutally killed them by cutting off their hands (Zinn pg 10). The sickness brought and the brutality towards the Indians resulted in over 90% dying. Lastly, the Colombian Exchange also had negative sides. Illnesses and slaves were both a result of it.

    In conclusion, even though Columbus’ discovery has helped the world advance by providing new lands and new foods, the negative impact was too great for it to be considered total success, and Columbus day should be made Indigenous People’s Day.

  2. Kyle Coleman

    We should still celebrate Columbus Day but the holiday should mostly be a reminder of what him and other Europeans did to the Native Americans when they came here. There are two major reasons why I believe we couldn’t change the name of the holiday to Indigenous People’s Day the first being that this country probably wouldn’t go for a holiday named like that and it would be incredibly hard to change the name to that nationwide. Even if people except what Columbus did was wrong they wouldn’t go for a holiday named after the natives of this land. The second reason builds off of the first, if people don’t accept the holiday they won’t celebrate it. In this case understanding, empathizing with and hopefully helping native Americans. But if the holiday name is kept the same and the difference lies in a change of what it means then the people of this country may be more receptive. Another important thing to learn about on Columbus day is Columbus himself. Not the fake version that doesn’t talk about what he did but his real life and what he did with it. We’ve gotten better at this in recent years but not enough. In A People’s History of the United States Howard Zinn shows an example of Columbus’ personality by putting in an excerpt written by the man himself about how the
    natives were kind to him and his men when they arrived on their land. Columbus
    goes on about how they didn’t see them as enemies and even traded with them and
    his first thought in response to this was what good servants they would make.
    Nowadays we don’t even let people with nowhere else to go into the country but
    these people let in strangers and even traded with them. Columbus Day should remain the same in name only and the brunt of the holiday should be focused on the native Americans and the injustices done to them.

  3. Ethan Lulkin

    I think America should acknowledge Columbus Day with a solemn reminder of what happened to the Native American after. I believe this because Columbus was a major part of how the Americas were settled by the Europeans. Without his journey, America and the rest of the Americas would be very different. Although he helped settle the Americas, the way he came about it was horrible and in turn led to the massacre of Native Americans. For example, when Columbus first arrived in Hispaniola he wrote in his log, “They [Natives] would make fine servants. … With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want”(9). This shows how horrible Christopher Columbus was, his first thoughts of the Native’s was that they would be great slaves. This in turn led to Columbus bringing back 500 Native American slaves his first time, and many more to come. Another example of how Columbus is not the best person to celebrate was the fact that he wasn’t even the first person to see the Americas. The first man to sight land was a sailor named Rodrigo. The person to first sight land was supposed to have earned a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis for life, but Columbus lied and said he had saw land the evening before. A selfish liar isn’t the greatest person to have a holiday after. Finally, Columbus’s first goal was to find gold. He would put any effort to get it, even killing. Columbus’s system to get gold was this, in Haiti every person fourteen years or older had to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Any Native without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death. This impossible task set by Columbus in end killed 250,000 Natives through either murder, mutilation, or suicide all in two years. It’s easy to agree that Christopher Columbus was a horrible person, but he was still the main reason for the Europeans settling in America. Therefore we should recognize how Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1942 and help find the Americas, but we don’t need to celebrate him as the greatest person in the world because along with the good he did, there were many horrible actions too.

  4. Kate Potocsky

    October 12th is a national holiday that seems to celebrate the baleful man Christopher Columbus. I think that it should be a celebration of the Indigenous people and America. I don’t think that Christopher Columbus is worthy of his own national celebration, because he built our nation on lies, slavery, and oppression. He had dishonorable motives too. Columbus was hungry for fame, wealth, power, and slaves.
    As mentioned in the Zinn reading, Columbus wasn’t even the first person to spot land in the New World. A sailor, named Rodrigo, saw an island in the Bahamas first, but Columbus claimed that he had seen “a light the evening before.” He then went on to receive a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis that rightfully belonged to Rodrigo.
    Along with money, Columbus also wanted slaves. In the Zinn reading, it said that he had stretched the truth to get funding for his second expedition. He lied, again, just so he could get slaves and gold. In 1945, he went on a great slave raid of the Arawak people. He took helpless men, women, and children and shipped them to Spain or into the slave trade.
    Another building block of Columbus’ America is oppression. He, and other Spaniards, were very cruel towards the Native Americans. They treated them like objects and machines. As also stated in the Zinn reading, their barbarous behaviors included riding the backs of Indians if they were running low on time, forced Indians to carry them on hammocks during relays, shade them from the sun with large leaves, and fan them with bird wings.
    These iniquitous actions do not deserve to be celebrated. I think that Columbus Day should be renamed Indigenous People’s Day. It should be a celebration of the lives of the people who once lived here, and the way our country is today. Unfortunately, America was not built on moral values. But, we have turned out country into something great as time went on. In the Schweikart reading, it was expressed that a historian had referred to Columbus as “the sign and symbol [of the] new age of hope, glory, and accomplishment.” While this is a logical title, he is not deserving of it. His hopes, glories, and accomplishments were only made possible because of the Indigenous people suffering through his cruel treatment and others being discredited and lied to. October 12th belongs to the Indigenous people, not Christopher Columbus.

  5. Aaliyah Winston

    Columbus Day takes place on October 12 of every year. It marks the day in history where the “first” European explorer “discovered” the New World. He came in search for spice islands in Asia, but was blown off course and ended up in the Americas. Whether Columbus Day should be commemorated is a huge national controversy. Personally, I think that we should 100% scrap Columbus Day and change it into Indigenous People’s Day. In general, Columbus “discovering” America caused an extreme amount of suffering, death, misfortune. Different historians see this event in positive and negative aspects. In more ways than one, Columbus was a terrible explorer, as well as a terrible person in general. Schweikart and Allen viewed this as an accomplishment of Columbus. They depicted Columbus as a brave, successful explorer. Leaving out all the evil, cruel, and twisted things he did to the inhabitants of the “New World” found. Meanwhile, Zinn saw his for the way Columbus really was. He was described as a manipulative, greedy explorer. Zinn stated in Columbus’ log, himself knew his plan from the beginning. The Natives were extremely nice to he and his crew, but already planned to take them captive and enslave them. Unknowingly, the Natives were self-less, kind, giving to the new comers. They gifted the Europeans with food and water and invested goods with them to trade. Nevertheless, Columbus chose to betray them and take their land. Columbus Day in a nut-shell is a national tribute to the mass genocide of the Native Americans. This exploration alone not only enslaved the Natives, but was the start of the documented, African Slave Trade. This particular day caused pain stricken through every one of decent of these victims, and should be turned into a celebration for those affected, not those who caused the distress of thousands, unsuspecting victims.

  6. Lily Abraam

    Every year people all across America celebrate Columbus day and other choose not to celebrate the holiday. Columbus Day is the holiday that celebrates the arrival of Columbus and his people on October 12, 1942. Many people chose not to celebrate it because of how Columbus treated Native Americans. He not only punished and hurt them, but he tried to convert some Native Americans to become Christian, like himself. Instead, people chose to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. Since many people find it controversial they either call it Indigenous Peoples Day, Native American Day, American Indian Day, or American heritage day. Many states chose to do this to protest against Columbus Day.
    Columbus Day should now not be considered a holiday because of what Columbus did and didn’t do. First, Columbus overall was a bad person, he captured Indians and took them away from their families. He also tried to convert Native Americans from their own religion and change to his. Also, according to the Zinn article, “Columbus would have never made it to Asia.” In the first place, Columbus’ goal was to find a shorter route to Asia, which he never accomplished. Also from the Zinn article, “…His crew had left the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa. They saw branches and sticks floating in the water. On October 12, a sailor called Rodrigo saw the early morning moon shining on white sand, and cried out. It was an island in the Bahamas.” According to the article, the man that was first to see land would get 10,000 yearly pensions of maravedis for life. But, Rodrigo never got the pensions because Columbus took over his spot, Columbus ended up receiving the reward. This shows Columbus is selfish because he took the reward from the person who originally founded it.
    Lastly, when Columbus was on his base in Haiti, he went to go look for goldfields but found nothing, so he thought that they had to fill up the ships with something. “In the year 1495, they went on a slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs… then loaded them into ships.” This also showed Columbus’ terrible person because he took people away from their homes, including children. He also invaded the land, in which the Arawak people had lived before. To continue, the Arawak people greeted Columbus when he came to the island. “…The Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, and gifts.” Columbus took advantage of the kind people and kidnapped them after they greeted him when he arrived.

  7. Zoe Kissinger

    Personally, I believe we should still celebrate Columbus Day and honor the desire that he had to explore the world and discover lands that people never even knew existed. His curiosity and brilliant ideas allowed him to somehow convince the government of Spain to even fund his voyage. I feel it’s important to look at those positive aspects of his character rather than all of the chaos of the conquests that ensued after his arrival. Now that pretty much all of the land on this Earth has been discovered, you rarely see people with the same kind of longing for adventure that Columbus had. It’s important to celebrate and honor all of the people with that same ambition before and even centuries after Columbus made his first voyage in 1492.

    I feel that many people believe that celebrating Columbus Day is romanticizing the genocide of millions of Native Americans because Columbus was solely responsible for all of the bad things that happened to the indigenous peoples of America. I’m not saying the treatment that the Europeans of the time gave the Native Americans wasn’t horrible and almost inhuman, but I am saying that it is not right to accuse one man of the mass murder of an entire race. I mean, it actually would be kind of impressive if someone were to single handedly wipe out tens of millions of people. The problems brought to America like the diseases had involved several crews of Europeans men, not just one. I honestly believe that the reason why we put all of the blame on Columbus these days is that he took all the glory of the voyages for himself, just like how he took the reward for spotting land first even though his crewmember, Rodrigo, had done so before he had.

  8. Dilan Daniels

    On October 12 Columbus day, a day dedicated to the explorer is celebrated in his discovery of the ‘New World’ for late 1400’s Europe. This day was made a national holiday in the United States in 1937 by President Franklin Roosevelt. Since then, the holiday has come under fire as to if we, as United States citizens, should celebrate Columbus’ voyage. Many who are in denial of the holiday have cited Columbus’ exploitations of both the land and the Indigenous peoples already living here. I believe that the holiday of Columbus day should not be celebrated in honor of Columbus and should be substituted for something different.
    As following what many people now believe of Columbus’ exploration of the Americas, Columbus was very hostile in his treatment of the Native Americans. As described in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, Columbus, as soon as he landed from his boat, took the some of the native Arawaks as prisoners to extract information from them. On the first page of Zinn’s writing is an excerpt from Columbus’ own writings, “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts”. This shows that Columbus’ thoughts of treating the natives with hospitality wasn’t a priority and he would go so far as kidnapping and forceful interrogation to find profit. One of Columbus’ actions of physical violence against the natives described in Zinn’s writings arose from a dispute over refusal to trade. On page three of Zinn’s interpretation is Columbus’ action, “As one part of the island he got into a fight with Indians who refused to trade as many bows and arrows as he and his men wanted. Two were run through with swords and bled to death”. Columbus, in response to not getting what he requested from the natives, responded in a violent fashion by killing two of them, again showing that Columbus was cold blooded in his treatment of the indigenous peoples.
    Today in America, many are in question of the honoring of Columbus’ travels to the New World, with a majority of people in favor of keeping the holiday. According to the Vox report on the holiday, a poll from the Knights of Columbus and Marist institute showed that 57% of Americans were in favor of the holiday. Although, by viewing a source of the poll it is revealed that the Marist Institution was in a funded partnership with the Knights of Columbus, possibly meaning that the outcome could be influenced or a stretched truth from the Knights of Columbus. Many states don’t even acknowledge the holiday either as John Oliver reports, and instead hold Indigenous Peoples day inplace of Columbus day. This example, and the many Americans who wholeheartedly refuse to celebrate Columbus conveys that maybe as American citizens, Columbus day should not be celebrated nationally in the United States.


  9. Tucker Budd

    Columbus day is celebrated on October 12. It is celebrated to remember when Christopher Columbus, who was said to be the first European to find the New World sailed the ocean blue. I think we should keep the holiday and it’s name, but celebrate it for a different reason. I think we should celebrate it for the overall discovery of what is now America. I do not think we should celebrate Columbus on his own. What Columbus did was awful whether he had the intentions to do it or not. Zinn describes Columbus as a greedy explorer. He also states that Christopher Columbus had a Journal or a log. Zinn explains how in this log Columbus states how he knew what he was doing all along. Columbus himself also did not find the U.S.A. itself. He only landed in the Bahamas. Zinn and Oliver also explained how Columbus is nice to the Native Americans in the beginning, but was planning on capturing them and enslaving them. Zinn later on goes on to explain one scenario that is abysmal. He goes on to explain how the Spaniards started to cut slices of the Natives to test the sharpness of there blades. This obviously is not Columbus but in hindsight it comes back to Columbus. We should celebrate it as the overall coming together of America with the name of Columbus day because even though he was a bad guy, there were somethings that he could not control and are now used against him. For example diseases that he brought over. Columbus had no way of controlling these diseases. Schweikart explains how the Native Americans had diseases way before Columbus came over, such as herpes and polio. This is why we should keep the name but celebrate it for a different reason.

  10. Chris Thorsen

    Columbus day should be used a reminder of our history and should serve as a solemn reminder of what happened to the native Americans. This holiday and its subject seem to have mythologized by our country over the last few hundred years. With said mythologizing, Columbus has been made into a better person, something closer to a hero, then he actually was. Upon arrival in the Carribean, rather than being peaceful with the natives, he and his men became hostile towards them in that they pillaged, murdered and raped them. This seemed to have led to a vicious chain of brutality from Europeans in the Americas. Though Columbus was not a great person, the holiday doesn’t quite even seem to be about him anymore, ironic as it seems. Now, the holiday seems to represent America and how great it was and is. However, the problem with this is that it is ignoring the negatives that came from the initial colonizers, including Columbus. When young children are taught about Columbus in school, they are taught many lies and many of the cold, hard facts are left out. I believe that people should know the whole truth and on said holiday. Columbus should not be celebrated but remembered. The holiday should be a good example of a piece of history that should not be repeated. I just think that we should change how we view this holiday, in that we should view Columbus more critically. This is the main reason I don’t think that it should necessarily be changed to indigenous people’s day because even though it would become more positive if it were changed to this, we should still have a reminder of our dark past. I believe a good compromise would be to make indigenous people’s day a holiday but to not necessarily have it replace Columbus day.

  11. Kaitlin Capinjola

    I believe we should abolish Columbus Day and essentially replace it with “Indigenous Peoples Day”. Columbus was motivated by greed to find new land and gold, going as far as claiming he was the first one to spot land so he could receive the award of a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis for life. According to the excerpt form A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, when Columbus first arrived on a Caribbean island in the Bahamas, the natives brought him gifts, greeted them in a friendly manner and offered to trade any possessions they had. But, Columbus claimed that he took a handful of natives by force and pressured them to give him information about the land, being most concerned on where the gold was located. Throughout his years in the New World, Columbus forced indigenous people into labor, for the sake of him making money. Their jobs were to work in mines to dig for gold or work on plantations. According to Bartolome de las Casas findings in the excerpt form A People’s History of the United States, up to a third of the men forced to work in the mines died. While the men were away, the women were forced to work the soil, digging thousands of holes and other tasks that were excruciating. Columbus never set foot in North America, his explorations consisted of several Caribbean islands, Hispaniola and Central and South American coasts. Columbus brought disease to the New World which was just one of the factors that contributed to the death of 90% Native Americans after experiencing new disease such as smallpox, measles and the flu. Columbus caused harm for Native Americans by forcing them into jobs, so he could make a profit. Although his Columbian Exchange idea brought many positive things to the New World, it came with the price of many new diseases that killed the majority of the Native American population. I think that Columbus Day should be replaced with “Indigenous Peoples Day” to remember all the suffering they went through as well as raise awareness. Celebrating “Indigenous Peoples Day” would give Native Americans a sense of peace, and honor those who survived the havoc that Columbus brought upon them.

  12. Nathalie Morgan

    I think that we should stop celebrating “Columbus Day” and start calling it “Indigenous people’s day”. The old title, while it might be seen as a way to keep spreading awareness for Columbus’s actions, still creating a celebration for the distasteful things that he did. Columbus didn’t have pure intentions when coming to America, he was looking for the three G’s as some may call them: Gold, Glory, and God. Some things he said at the time of “discovering America” and its people are especially disgusting. In A People’s History of The United States by Howard Zinn, he includes a passage from Columbus’s log. “They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” The last line, “make them do whatever we want.” is a quote that makes me instantly believe that nothing this man did in America was truly good. Instead of celebrating him, we should be celebrating the Native Americans, who had to deal with disease, torture, slavery, and getting kicked out of their own homes because the English decided they wanted the land. One example of the mistreatment of Native Americans by Europeans was told in the same selection by Zinn; “When it became clear that there was no gold left, the Indians were taken as slave labor on huge estates, later known as encomiendas… A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants left on the island.” This quote can also show how detrimental the abuse from the Europeans was, because in other islands the same things were happening, Native Americans being murdered and enslaved on their own land, usually for gold or because they refused to change their religious views. If we started calling it Indigenous People’s day, then we could try to heal some of the irreversible damage that the arrival of Europeans caused the new world and Natives.

  13. Peter Manion

    Columbus Day seems like an innocent idea to celebrate the person who discovered the New World. However, looking at historical documents about what Columbus has done, it should make you question if he should be attributed a national holiday in the US. I don’t think it’s fair to say that Columbus discovered America, but he was the first to come to the New World. The Vikings came earlier, but they didn’t begin any long-term change. After Columbus got to the New World it was a much bigger deal than the vikings, things such as the Trans-Atlantic Triangle Trade system came afterwards. Although I wouldn’t attribute that all to Columbus, as he’s only one man. The large amount of trade throughout the Atlantic wasn’t because of Columbus, my point is that his arrival began a meaningful piece of history while the Vikings did not. That being said, I don’t think Christopher Columbus should have a national holiday attributed to him. Columbus was was just a normal explorer/conqueror for the times. I think it should be recognized that he was the first to voyage to the New World, however I think that Columbus should be gilded like he usually is; on the other hand, he should not be ridiculed and picked apart as a terrible man either. Again, Columbus was was just a normal explorer/conqueror for the times and to do things such as attribute the deaths of 90% of the Native Americans to him is ridiculous. If Zheng He had arrived in the Americas the same exact thing would have happened because the Native Americans has weak immune systems to diseases. Columbus did not leave Spain looking to kill Native Americans and it was an inevitable occurrence. Columbus was not responsible for killing millions of people. It obviously did occur though and because of that I do agree that Columbus Day could be changed to Indigenous People’s Day or simply Native American Day. Columbus’ voyage was much more important and impactful than Columbus, and I don’t think that much of what happened can be thrown onto his shoulders. Therefore, I don’t think he should have a national holiday or be terribly ridiculed for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, mass death of Native Americans, or discovering the New World.

  14. halle

    I don’t think we should celebrate Columbus day, and instead have it as a reminder of how American came to be. It is still important because it is how the Europeans came to America and it represents America’s opportunity and what America stands for, which is freedom to do what you want. Many Europeans came to America for religious and economic freedoms. They came because they wanted a better life and that is what America stands for and what should be celebrated. On the other hand, to get to a more tolerant country many people had to go through a lot. Along with people, Columbus brought diseases and European exceptionalism with him. He possibly killed millions of Native Americans because they would not believe the same things he did. They didn’t believe the same religion as many Europeans did. This is important because today our government is separated from the church, which means he killed many innocent people for not believing something that today would be very looked down upon. He also brought many diseases which also killed a lot of people. He was a greedy person who only cared to find wealth in the New World. Zinn said how Columbus took Indians as slaves and forced them to search for gold. The Spanish took Indians and were hung and burned. In Haiti, for example, the Spanish were so cruel that nearly half the population was killed in two years from murder, mutilation, or suicide. Not to mention the fact that he claimed he founded a new country with already millions of people living on it and was found by Vikings 500 years earlier. Then never stepped foot on North American soil. Columbus himself should not be encouraged, but the founding of America should be celebrated. These are just some reasons we should not praise Columbas but look back at American history to see how many Americans came to be.

  15. Evan mondora

    Columbus Day is the yearly anniversary of when Christopher Columbus reached American on October twelfth, fourteen ninety-two celebrated in not only the United States but in Spain. In the United States there is a large push for Columbus Day to be changed to Indigenous peoples or Discovery Day. This is because the Native Americans were the real ones that discovered the north and South American continents and arrived more than one thousand years before. I believe that Columbus Day should be dissolved because of how little Columbus actually did in the discovery of the Americas.
    Christopher Columbus when He got to America never actually had realized that he was not in Asia. He when he finally reached the Bahamas the first place he got to in the new world which he believed to be the Philippine islands, he slaughtered them when they could not give him unreachable amounts of gold. The natives that did survive his oppression and sneering imperialism were in slaved to most not longer after die from diseases the Europeans carried from their domestic animals. When Columbus finally did return to Europe with news of the new world he brought on many more Europeans that would Come to invade the American continents would bring the native Americans society to the brink of extinction with Diseases and Guns to steal their land. One great European explorer that arrived long before Christopher Columbus was Leif Erikson. Leif Erikson was a Viking explorer from Iceland that arrived in America four hundred and ninety-two years before Christopher Columbus did. Christopher Columbus brought disease and mass genocide to the Native American population when Leif Erikson arrived in America he did not which is why I think not only should Christopher Columbus day be dissolved but put more empathizes on Leif Erikson day. Hinga Dinga Durgen!

  16. Taylor Mahle

    Every year on October 12th is Columbus Day, the United States and other countries recognize Columbus for the “discovery” of the New World, in 1492. However, many states in the U.S. have changed this holiday to Indigenous People’s Day. I believe that Columbus Day should be overall changed to Indigenous People’s Day. To support this change, The Old Theory states that Native Americans migrated from central Asia to North America during the last Ice Age. This theory allows us to believe that the Native American’s were first to arrive to the New World. This means that Columbus didn’t really discover America, but yet he still receives create to this day. Not only didn’t Columbus not arrive first, but he caused much pain to Native Americans, a side of the story main people don’t know about. In “A People’s History of the United State,” by Zinn he quotes Columbus’s journal logs. One of Columbus’s log describes how the Native Americans greeted them, brought them gifts and food, and were overall generous toward them, when they arrived in North America. Columbus later wrote “They would make fine servants… With fifty men, we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” This quote is the beginning of a genocide. In 1945, Columbus went on a great slave raid of Natives, loading only the best on to his ship. Columbus and his men capture Natives and then forced them to mine for gold and farm through an encomienda system. The encomienda system was a caste system that kept the Natives in order, by them being second to last. His men and him, were beyond cruel to the Natives, for an example, they sometimes cut off their hands and let them bleed out. Many Natives tried to escape, however they would be hunted down with dogs and killed. Others committed suicide because they couldn’t handle it. Overall, throughout just two years 250,000 Native Americans had been killed due to Columbus and his men. In conclusion, Columbus Day should be changed to Indigenous People’s Day, due to his actions towards Native Americans

  17. Evan Willey

    I think we should acknowledge Columbus Day with a solemn reminder of how this affected the Native Americans afterwards. I feel that we should choose this method of celebration because the discover of the Caribbean Columbus made is still monumental for history and a very important mistake that would change many people’s lives to come. We should also acknowledge the Native Americans because they experienced the worst of the discovery. The cruelty the Natives will face because of Columbus is horrible and the genocide of their people deserves recognition, but I think Columbus had a small part in the actual action of killing the people’s. I also think that the spread of disease that Columbus created was in part randomized in killing and it wasn’t forced on violence towards the Natives. When Columbus discovered the Natives he had no intentions or knowledge that he was spreading deathly diseases to them. Schweikart and Allen states the the Natives had epidemics long before Columbus. There is evidence that smallpox, while devastating, did not spread as a pandemic through North and Central America. Another study backed the fact that the Natives population was on a downward spiral prior to Columbus by studying the skeletons of 12,500 Natives. But on the other side of the argument Zinn gives excerpts from the Las Casas diaries that prove just how demeaning the Spanish were to the Natives. Accounts of Spanish riding the backs of Indians to avoid walking and cutting them just to test the sharpness of their blades. While Columbus was gone during this period of barbaric treatment he still was the root cause for problem. When Columbus returned to Madrid after his first journey he described Hispaniola as both fertile and beautiful with wide river containing lots of gold, and also abundant in spices and gold and other metals coming from mines. Due to this exaggerated report Columbus forces the Natives to work even harder for resources that weren’t present in the way he described before. Also to help with the lack of gold Columbus took even more Natives as slaves. If Natives weren’t being brought into slavery, they were collecting gold or other resources and when they couldn’t do this effectively they were killed by the Spanish. This brutality caused by Columbus is why the Natives must be recognized on Columbus Day.

  18. Elle Layman

    Columbus day represents many things, however, the majority of the attention is given to the wrong aspect of what this holiday represents. Columbus is seen as a murderer to many people, and giving him a day named after him does not give America a good appearance. This holiday is important enough to keep it as an official government holiday, although for other reasons than what people think. Columbus Day should represent every aspect of the beginning of the New World, the pros and the cons. We need to learn how to appreciate the pros and learn from the cons. The idea of what this day is about needs to be reformed. This day needs to appreciate the pros of what Columbus did, but also recognize all the awful and cruel things done to the Native Americans. Reforming this holiday and not giving it a new name does seem very challenging, so as a result to that, renaming this holiday “Indigenous people’s day” is an exceedingly good idea. Renaming this holiday gives it a new face and lets people be open about accepting the past and learning how to embrace it. It is almost appalling at how people still have a holiday named after someone as selfish, rude, and ignorant as Columbus (Zinn). We need to remember what we put the Native Americans through and accept what America is built on. Reforming this holiday will bring unity to America and continue to help America grow.

  19. Sophi Whitman

    I believe that we should abolish Columbus Day and change it to be called “Indigenous People’s Day” to represent all Native Americans. Columbus does not deserve his own holiday due to his dehumanizing personality. He treated the Native Americans horribly and killed endless numbers of them. He did this all in the act of money, pride, and hatred. His arrival into the New World lead to, what some call, a genocide that wiped out a significantly large portion of the Native’s population.

    He cruelly treated all of the Native Americans in ways such as warfare, colonization, slavery, and torture. In the Zinn article, it describes Columbus forcing all Native Americans over fourteen to collect a large amount of gold, because he thought that they were in Asia. This task was extremely difficult because there were only small numbers of gold in the area. If they didn’t meet the required amount of gold they would be brutally killed. Also, if they tried to run away, dogs would hunt them down and torture them as well. Columbus needed this gold to pay back the investors in Europe and resorted to slavery to help him collect the resource.

    When there was no gold left, the Native Americans were enslaved through the encomienda system as well. The horrible abuse of power killed Native Americans by the hundreds and significantly decreased the population.

    The husbands and wives scarcely saw each other due to their working conditions. The women worked in the fields, digging soil for cassava plants. The men were sent to work in the mines. When they eventually got to see each other, only about every eight to ten months, they were exhausted and sad. This lack of interaction also assisted in the decline of population. According to Schweikart and Allen, there was a destruction of half the Native American population.

    Columbus needed objects to bring back to Spain as proof he made it to the land he claimed he traveled to. So, he captured many Natives and brought them overseas on his trip home. Zinn describes Columbus choosing the 500 “best specimens” to take back to Spain. Almost half of them died over the course of the voyage and the rest were sold as slaves.

    Zinn depicted the Native Americans as being selfless, caring people who kindly welcomed Columbus and his crew. Columbus saw this as a benefit because it allowed him to easily manipulate and take advantage of the Natives in order to get things from them.

    Columbus’s discovery of the New World impacted our current way of life. His findings paved the way for our civilized USA and the great things that came with it. It has evolved into the great, free country we know today. Although his discovery was important, his treatment of the Natives should not be celebrated as a national holiday throughout any part of the world. October 12th should be dedicated to the people that suffered through the hardships caused by Columbus, the Native Americans.

  20. Hayden Miller

    The Legacy of Christopher Columbus is an important piece of history throughout the World, which can be interpreted in two ways, that of which Christopher Columbus is a hero who should receive honor and glory for his achievements, or the mindset that he led the pathway to the destruction of the Native American people, and that everything he achieved in his life was out of greed and personal wants. I am apart of the latter group, believing that the heinous acts that were sparked by Columbus’ expedition to America must not be celebrated but instead be allowed to dissolve into the past and I suggest that America and the rest of the World join the few states and cities already celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day and remember those who are apart of our Countries roots.
    I think that it is morally wrong to continue to glorify the effective ‘chain reaction’ that Columbus sparked, leading to thousands of Native Americans deaths, and that with the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, We would avoid controversy and acknowledge the base of American society, honoring those who lost their lives to the inquisitions of Columbus and the other Spanish Conquistadors. Indigenous Peoples Day would also raise awareness and bring to light the rich heritage of the Native American people honoring the first inhabitants of the Americas. To have a national and governmental holiday entirely for the purpose of paying tribute to a man who assigned “work to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy” which led priest Bartolome de las Casas to write that, “he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the indians” is completely Un-American and is against everything America should stand for.
    However, it is important to remember the history of our country, as well as the World, and with the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day we would both be agreeing to not, blot out the life of Christopher Columbus while greeting the past of the American Natives. We should never forget the past, and the celebration of this fairly new holiday, Indigenous Peoples Day respects that completely and follows the guidelines of what a true American holiday should do, respect those of the past while honoring those now and yet to come.

  21. Gillian Waitzman

    Columbus Day is one of the most meaningless holidays celebrated during the year. There is not one person I know that takes this holiday seriously. Why do we devote a day to celebrate a man who is a liar and a killer and only craves gold and slavery? I think that we should pitch Columbus Day in favor of celebrating “Indigenous People’s Day”.

    First of all, as mentioned in Excerpt 2- A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, Columbus wasn’t even the first person to spot land in the New World. If you search up “Columbus Day” on the internet, you will find the definition to be, a national holiday in many countries in the Americas, officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in and European discovery of the American Continent on October 12, 1492. This is the farthest from the truth. In fact, Rodrigo was the first man to sight land. This achievement was rewarded by getting a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis for life, however, Columbus was craving money as usual and claimed he had seen a light the evening before. Columbus being an excellent liar as he probably was due to practice, received the award.

    Second of all, Columbus was a heartless man. He didn’t care about a single one of his hundred’s slaves working for him. Columbus ordered all persons 14 years or order to collect a certain quantity of gold (which was very hard to find at the time) every three months. If his slaves did not reach his exact orders, their hands would be cut off and they would bleed to death.

    This is not the kind of person that I, nor anyone else should want to be the face and name that represents such an important day for America. This name should be given to the Indigenous people. These were the people that lived here before us. These were the people that suffered at a great cost. These were the people that made America what it is today. The Natives gave Columbus the respect they would give a king, and expected the same degree of liberality back, which they did not receive. Columbus did not deserve the Natives one bit and was lucky that they followed his orders. I believe that Columbus was a domineering and grueling person and I do not want that kind of person receiving such a gift, as getting their own holiday.

  22. Walter LaMar

    As America keeps progressing in social economics the arousing question of whether America should keep celebrating Columbus Day; despite the horrible and tyrannical acts he committed while discovering the North American continent and instead, call it Indigenous People Day as a more neutral name. Many states have already put the name into action but most of America is still skeptical about the idea and don’t care about the issue at all. Although Columbus has claimed to spot this continent first and be its founding father, he shouldn’t be celebrated for the way he enslaved, killed and lied his way to earn the title.

    If you asked was Christopher Columbus the first man to discover America you’d be wrong. To be clear when Columbus was going to India he did not land on the mainland he ended up in the Bahamas. Was he the first one to discover the Bahamas? ”October 12, a sailor called Rodrigo saw the early morning moon shining on white sands, and cried out” (Zinn). For prior knowledge whoever first saw land gets a bonus Rodrigo being the first one to spot land should’ve gotten the bonus but Columbus “claimed” he saw land the day before and got the reward. Why didn’t Columbus say he saw land when he saw it because clearly, he lied just to steal the money from Rodrigo who rightfully deserved it. Columbus day isn’t about falsehood nor is it about a fraud.
    Historians such as Howard Zinn states the facts like it is. One of those facts was that Columbus enslaved many Natives including the Arawaks, even though slavery was common during these times it wasn’t for England, his homeland.The article states that once Columbus found that they had gold ”it led Columbus to take some of them aboard ship as prisoners because he insisted that they guide him to the source of the gold” (Zinn). Even though that was his main objective he ended up enslaving the entire tribe and many more on his exploration of the Bahamas. After enslaving a few natives he and the Spaniards left to report to the majesty lied and exaggerated about his findings. Once he ” [Columbus] went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens” (Zinn). Columbus was in charge of catching and trading slaves, and that doesn’t even compare to what him and his men did to them afterward: forced several natives to find an impossible amount of gold within three months to gain a copper token and if you didn’t have one your hands would be cut off, Raped the women and children, when they tried to run away they were hunted down and killed, rode their backs like their animals, and even “cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades” (Zinn). In the end, Columbus ended up committing mass genocide which is the farthest thing from the courageous, intelligent, all time hero the holiday portrayed him to be and definitely shouldn’t be praised in modern society for having inhumane morals.

    Columbus day shouldn’t be celebrated for the atrocious things Columbus has done during his travels: such as slavery, mass genocide, and fraud although, in the end, the name shouldn’t matter the meaning behind it. Even though the creation of America was based on the dark side of humanity our history is still the only truth which means we shouldn’t get rid of it but acknowledge it as the truth and move on. Fact is there are way more important things solve in the ever-evolving world: like the never-ending poverty, war, sexism, and racism we have now there is no time to dwell on the past.

  23. Faith Reeves

    I believe we should abolish the entire idea of Columbus Day, and instead make it into Indigenous People’s Day. Obviously, we cannot place all of the blame of this mass genocide of Native Americans solely on one individual. However, we can acknowledge the hand that Christopher Columbus had in the act. He was the leader of the fleet that originally landed on the Americas and he was the one that later created the policies with which the new explorers followed. To continue to celebrate Columbus Day, regardless of whether the meaning is changed to be looked at as a respectful remembrance of those who died, is still resulting in us giving Columbus a national holiday. To have any connection to him for a day that is meant to honor the lives that were lost is disrespectful all over again. It disregards the actual meaning and shows that we are still going to gloss over the true facts of what happened. Indigenous People’s Day would be a way to remember the atrocities of what happened and what the Native Americans had to suffer through. Not only that, but it would be a way to show representation of these people that have been disenfranchised throughout much of history. Columbus was in no way a good person, or somebody with the right intentions. He wanted to have the glory of discovering a new place, the gold that he believed the Native Americans had and could find, as well as from the compensation from the King and Queen of Spain. He was always focused on himself alone, and his own personal gains. To “reward” this with a holiday named after him negates these things and make it out to seem as if he was an American hero, which I’m sure many Americans would disagree with. In the book, Christopher Columbus, Mariner, the author wrote that “The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide.” This should, under no circumstance, receive any type of positive attention. To show that it is truly perceived as what it was, a genocide, the holiday should not be his anymore, and should instead be used as a way to honor the Native Americans both then and now. 

  24. Amelia Margolis

    I think there is another alternative to all of these options. Overall, I do think it should be acknowledged of how we got here. But, I also think we should not praise a man who although discovered this country, also came about it in a terrible way. There needs to be a way to remember how we got here, and also to remember the awful genocide. We could call it something like founders day, or American remembrance day. Founders day could represent more of the aspect on how we got here. It would celebrate how our country came to be. And it would also highlight and remind us what was here before us, the Native Americans. Or if it was called American remembrance day which would remind Americans of the terrible genocide that isn’t often talked about. This title would also remind Americans on how we got here. I just think Columbus Day is definitely not the right title for this holiday. First, it has nothing to do with the Native Americans at all. A terrible thing happened to them and is not recognized at all. Second, the title of this holiday is literally a mans name. Not to mention, this man was not a great person. He was not kind towards the Native Americans or women. He took what he wanted, not caring how it affected others. There is only one other holiday with someones name, and that is MLK. It is a national holiday for oa person who did no wrong, so his name should be recognized. Lastly, we don’t even know for sure if it was Columbus who even discovered America, it could have been someone else on his boat. In conclusion the title of this holiday should be changed, and shouldn’t just celebrate a single person. The name of this holiday should recognize everyone involved in the beginning of America.

  25. Jake Chernow

    I believe Christopher Columbus should be recognized for his contributions towards forging and “discovering” the New World, but it is a necessity that Americans not only recognize the suffering Columbus and his crew put the Native people through but give thanks and celebrate the native people for the agony they faced. Without Christopher Columbus and his crew setting sail in 1492, and accidentally stumbling upon what they thought was Asia (really present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic), settling and exploiting the New World would have been much more difficult. Without Columbus’s exploration, it would have been very hard for other explorers to obtain financial backing, for their expeditions. In excerpt 1, Schweikart claimed that Columbus blazed the trail for other explorers to the new world. But Just How high were the costs of the expedition? The costs were drastic for a singular group of people, the Native Americans. According to Zinn, Columbus gave the Indians an impossible task of mining for gold, and because of this task, murder, mutilation, and suicide led to half of the Indians on the island to die. Also exclaimed by Zinn, “a report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawak’s or their descendants left on the island.” It’s clear, that Columbus and his men put the natives through a living hell. Not only did Columbus treat the natives with brutality and disrespect, but he also stripped them of the land they had lived and thrived on many years prior to his arrival. Because Columbus sparked a new world movement with his discovery and made it easier for future expeditions I think his work deserves to be recognized. I also strongly believe, that most of Americans recognition and respects should be granted to the Native people that lost virtually everything in order to start the very beginning of our country. I conclude, that Columbus Day should be kept, but a holiday titled Indigenous Peoples day should be established and celebrated the same, if not more, as Columbus Day.

  26. Isaac Michaels

    I believe that Columbus Day should be changed to “Discovering America Day”, or something along that line. The new day will celebrate the discovery of the New World by Europe, Indigenous people and cultures that aren’t as recognized as they should be, who also discovered America, and be a general pride day for America. I think that there should be a day to honor the discovery of America by the Europeans, and unfortunately that day cannot come without some people not wanting it. The current Columbus Day does nothing to celebrate the natives who lived here before the colonizers, and I think that they could change it to both celebrate natives, and also celebrate the discoveries, or at least the good parts of them. Zinn described the horrible atrocities that many of the colonizers committed against the innocent natives that lived in the Americas, and just like people say about the holocaust, it should be remembered so it does not happen again. If Columbus Day never existed, many people would know much less about the natives and their cultures than they do now. The arguments discussed by Shweikart and Allen, that native populations were already in wars before the settlers came, were already being ravaged by diseases, and that their overall populations were already declining is ridiculous. Regardless of any of those statements are true or not, the Natives killed by settlers are in no way justified by that. Every civilizations has had wars and epidemics, and those do not excuse violent acts against innocents. A day that does not specifically celebrate Columbus, but rather the Natives populations and the European settlers who actually wanted to discover over kill, would work much better than the current Columbus Day. Columbus did help out history, but there were many other people who should be remembered for discovering the America’s too.

  27. Sam Mercer

    I believe that we as a country should still recognize Columbus day but need to celebrate an Indigenous people’s day. I think we still should recognize Columbus’ discovery of America because it was a big part of history and something people need to learn about. I don’t think that Americans should celebrate Columbus day as much as recognizing it because you wouldn’t want to celebrate a man who kidnapped and killed millions of natives. I think what Americans should be celebrating on this day is an Indigenous People’s day where we celebrate the first people living in America and those who were murdered and enslaved by Christopher Columbus. On Indigenous people’s day I think Americans should be educated about who Christopher Columbus really was, Americans should be educated about how he kidnapped, raped, and murdered millions of Native Americans and other Indigenous people. People still think nowadays that Columbus was a great man who was the first to discover America and this is still being taught to younger aged elementary school students. It needs to be taught in schools including elementary that Columbus was not a “brave discoverer of America” and that him and his crew spread many illnesses all throughout America. On Indigenous people’s day we need to honor those who were killed by these illnesses or murdered by Columbus or other European foreigners. Columbus enslaved many Native Americans and made them work to build America. Instead of honoring Columbus for enslaving these people and pretending Columbus built America let’s honor the Native Americans enslaved who were the ones that actually worked to build this country. Instead of celebrating Columbus a man that built and discovered America let’s use Columbus day as a day to educate American about Columbus. Let’s educate Americans that Columbus enslaved, raped, and killed many Native Americans and honor the Native Americans who were enslaved and who were really the ones who built this country.

  28. Dominick Stoops

    I don’t believe in Columbus day. Although it might have been the day that America took its first true breath it was also the day of the never-ending destruction to the Native’s who took care of this land for hundreds of years. Yes, Columbus did “find” this land, but that does not mean that he deserves a whole national holiday dedicated to him and only him. Columbus was very egotistical and obsessed with trying to keep his name stuck in history, at least he did one thing right, but it was at the expense of the Native’s genocide. I think Columbus day should not be celebrated for solely Columbus, on this day it should be about the Natives that lost their lives for this country to even exist. To all the men and women who fought to keep their land and their culture but ended up being defeated by Europeans. It should be remembered for the descendants of these great warriors that live their lives on reservations in poverty, with little or nothing to their name. This holiday is a disgrace to our people and to our country, it should be remembered in honor of the Indigenous people who flourished in these lands before the Europeans came and stole it.
    In the Schweikart and Allen reading, they state that Columbus embodied the best of the new generation of navigators, to be sure Columbus wanted glory and a motivation born of desperation fueled by his vision. You can see that Columbus was beyond desperate to try and make something, anything out of himself and his voyaging skills. Though I believe he was voyaging for the wrong reasons, he was fueled with anger and a drive that lead him to kill innocent Indians of the Hispaniola Island, he landed there than almost instantly started enslaving the people of that Island. He did not care who had to die, or what races had to be eradicated if it meant he could seek out glory. Now I know that he didn’t exactly do the genocide himself, but this very first landing at the Hisponal Island created this catastrophe, the blood is on his hands, and the hands of the people who slaughtered the Natives, intentional or not.
    In the Zinn writing, he repeatedly talks about the Indians hospitality when Columbus and his sailors first landed on the Islands. They ran out to shore and into the ocean to take a better look at the strange man and his strange boat. As soon as he landed on the island he took some Natives by force, in “order” for them to possibly learn his language and make them give the location of their goods. Columbus had the idea that if he found gold then he would be cherished throughout time, not as a failure but a hero. He did this completely denying the hospitality of the natives, and instead of turning it into harm and grief for years to come.

  29. Veronica Szuma

    Columbus Day should not be celebrated, but instead, Indigenous Peoples Day should be. The land was theirs first, and America was taken from them. In addition, Columbus never made it to North America, but instead stayed in Central America, so, essentially, the United States celebrates a man, who did nothing to colonize, let alone step foot, on their land. Dr. Larry Schweikart argues that there were many other factors that caused Native Americans to depopulate, besides Columbus’s arrival. He argues that the Native Americans had their own diseases that caused death before Columbus arrived; however, the Europeans, lead by Columbus, brought smallpox, which wiped out the greatest number of Native Americans out of all diseases. Columbus also treated the Native Americans awfully, especially when they weren’t giving him what he wanted. If they did not give him the amount of gold that he wanted, he would cut their hands off, killing them from loss of blood. He shipped many others back to Spain as slaves; the majority died on the brutal voyage. The wars between the Europeans and the Native Americans resulted in many more Native American deaths, as opposed to European, because European weapons were more advanced. Schweikart argues that the number of deaths cannot be for certain because Native Americans did not keep reliable records, but either way, deaths are inevitable. Dr. Howard Zinn mentions the encomienda system that Columbus instated. This gave Spanish nobles land to own and forced the natives to work grueling hours in farms and mines. They started killing their own babies and committing suicide because the conditions were so unbearable. This was, however, if they didn’t die from being overworked, first. Although Columbus found new land for Europeans to settle in, it was at the cost of the indigenous people. He should not be celebrated because he committed terrible actions toward innocent people. Instead, the people who were on the land first should be celebrated for their establishment and perseverance.

  30. Joshua Wallington

    I think that we should acknowledge Columbus Day with a solemn reminder of what happened to the Native Americans. I think we should keep the holiday because we shouldn’t try to forget or change our history. We should acknowledge the good and the bad of our history so we don’t make the same mistakes that Christopher Columbus made. We should just make sure that when the holiday is taught, every aspect of Christopher Columbus’s character and voyage should be taught. Columbus Day makes Christopher Columbus seem like a hero that made no mistakes and was the first to set foot in America before anyone else. This is not true, although Columbus might have been a great and brave person that showed extraordinary leadership to his men, he treated the Native Americans with cruelty. When he first came ashore he thought that the Native Americans would make good slaves. “Their spears are made of cane. …They would make fine servants. …With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” When Christopher Columbus came to America all he wanted to do was find gold. His first interaction with the Native Americans was hostile and gradually become more brutal. He was so determined to use the Native Americans to find gold he didn’t understand them as people. Howard Zinn attest to Columbus’s brutality to the Native Americans when he says, “In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route.” I think we should still acknowledge Christopher Columbus because we should always remember our history and he is a big part of it. We should learn about Columbus’s treatment of his sailors versus the treatment of the Native Americans.

  31. Samuel Sundberg

    I think we should abolish Columbus day, and instead celebrate indigenous peoples day. Although Christopher Columbus was seen as a hero in Europe of that time for discovering new land to pillage, now most of us question his voyage to the new world. In 1492 Spain and other European countries wanted to find a way to India and Asia to trade for spices and silk brought back by Marco Polo. The Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople and the eastern Mediterranean therefore controlling the land routes to Asia. Spain had to find another way to India. Christopher Columbus a great sailor of Portugal and was denied, by Portugal, the opportunity to travel across the Atlantic to India. So, he went to the neighboring country Spain and they allowed him to sail across the Atlantic to India in exchange for gold and spices to be brought back. He arrived on October 12, 1492 when his lookout spotted land. The lookout was then supposed to get a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis for life, but instead it was stolen from him by Christopher claiming he saw light the evening before. He was greeted by the Arawaks native to the islands of the Bahamas. The Arawaks Columbus described were, “naive and free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it.” Columbus proceeded to convince the Arawaks to take them to the gold. After coming back from his first voyage, he was sent back with seventeen ships. The main point of the second voyage was to capture slaves and find more gold. Columbus ordered his men to gather slaves and find the gold fields. There were no gold fields so Columbus brought back hundreds of slaves. Along with putting the Arawaks and other Indian tribes into slavery he also brought many diseases to the Indian people such as smallpox. This would lead to an even greater death rate than if they would be taken as slaves. Columbus’ behavior and choices spread throughout the ideas of other Spanish conquistadors such as Cortez and Pizarro who would conquer the Aztec and Inca empires. This harsh behavior and horrible selfishness portrayed by Columbus is why we should celebrate the day the Native Indians and Americans lost their freedom to Europe.

  32. Monica Inda

    I personally do not think that we should celebrate Columbus Day and instead change the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ day. During Columbus Day, people seem to overlook, or simply don’t know, what really happened between the European conquerors and the Native Americans when Columbus “discovered” America. We seem to blindly believe that Columbus was responsible for sailing across the ocean to America, settling down, and establishing the foundation of what would turn into flourishing civilization we call our home. While Columbus did accomplish this, it came with massive costs and huge misconceptions. First of all, Columbus was not the discoverer of America nor did he even step foot into North America. There were millions of Natives already settled in the country. Furthermore, Columbus was not even the first person to see America from the ship, Rodrigo was. Because of the substantial award given to the man who saw land first, Columbus quickly swooped in, claiming he had seen a light the night before. Moreover, Columbus and his men showed no mercy to the innocent Indians already living in America. Almost as soon as Columbus set foot on America’s shores, they began wiping Natives out left and right. Whether it was from the diseases brought over from Europe or just straight genocide, Columbus and his men killed the majority of the Native population. The small percentage of Natives still living among the Europeans were contained in brutal slavery and stripped of the rights they had previously possessed.
    Celebrating Columbus Day as a day worth celebration puts all of the hardships and death that the Natives went through on the back burner. It covers up the lies, slavery, genocide, and oppression that the “father of America” and the first European settlers bestowed on the Indians. Columbus is not someone to be honored through a national holiday because of his treatment of the people that already controlled the land. Instead, we should honor the Natives that were raped, murdered, and enslaved by their European conquerors and rename the holiday Indigenous Peoples’ Day. October 12th should no longer praise a horrible man, but honor the Indigenous people and recognize them how they should be seen as.

  33. Annika Paluda

    Every year around October 12th, numerous countries celebrate the discovery of the New World on Columbus Day. We celebrate this day to recognize Christopher Columbus, who led the first voyage to the New World. To children and many people ignorant about the topic, Columbus Day is something to think positively about. But is it really? Undoubtedly, the discovery of the New World is a crucial point in history. It opened up trade in many places and unlocked an entire continent to the world. Although, many people fail to consider the negative effects it had.
    For starters, Columbus himself did not possess many positive motives for the discovery. He was driven most by desire for fame and wealth. As Schweikart describes in his excerpt, Columbus’s intention for his voyage was to find a new way to get to Asia going West from Europe. He wanted to go to Asia to trade valuable goods. In reality, he stumbled upon the New World by accident and it is questioned if he was really the one who spotted it first. Zinn explains that Rodrigo actually spotted the land first, but Columbus claimed that he did for fame and for a pension.
    Secondly, and most importantly, his discovery essentially led to a genocide of the Native Americans. The minute Columbus and his crew stepped foot on American land, the Native American population went down hill. Natives were enslaved by Europeans and suffered from harsh working and living conditions. Zinn elaborates on this in his excerpt by explaining that men were always tired from mining and the women were tired from other vigorous work. This caused a decrease in reproduction and the babies that were born often died from because their mothers could not or were too exhausted to breastfeed them properly. If natives didn’t die from this system, they likely died from European diseases or murder. Although Schweikart explains that diseases were already a problem for the natives before Columbus came, the spread of diseases like smallpox killed approximately 90% of Native Americans.
    Since there is no evidence that Columbus was the one who founded the New World, he should not deserve all the credit. I also believe that acknowledging a man with such poor values is wrong. And although it was not Columbus that killed every native, the genocide would not have been possible without his discovery. Therefore, Columbus Day should be no longer. That being said, I believe we should still take a day to celebrate the discovery of the New World, but acknowledge the Native American lives that were lost because of it at the same time. I think that Columbus Day should be changed to “Indigenous People’s Day.” This way, people can recognize the discovery while showing respect to the Native American culture that suffered because of it.

  34. Sydney Green

    Columbus Day is in fact the least acknowledged holiday in America. We are celebrating this day for what?, a man that was only in search of gold, glory and slaves? Every year on October 12th, he is recognized as the man who discovered the New World, in 1492. Despite this, many states in America have decided to stop celebrating it as Indigenous Peoples Day. I believe that we should pitch Columbus Day and change it to Indigenous Peoples Day. This “holiday”’ fails to mention what was really done, according to the text from “ A People’s History of the United States” by Zinn says “to justify what was done….The treatment of heroes and their victims– the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress.” many Americans are not fully educated on what occured in the past. Going along with that, Columbus was not even the first to spot the land, the excerpt written by Zinn says “The first man to sight land was supposed to get a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis for life, but Rodrigo never got it. Columbus claimed he had seen a light the evening before. He got the award.” This evidence showed that he was a liar and unworthy of having a holiday just based for him. According to the excerpt from A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, when Columbus first arrived on a Caribbean island in the Bahamas, the natives brought him gifts, greeted them in a friendly manner and offered to trade any possessions they had. He noticed the little gold pieces in their ear and ambushed them with questions about the land and where to find gold. He forced the Natives into labor like in the mines, to dig for gold and on plantations for sugar. Many died working in the mines due to the terrible work conditions. Columbus also carried disease to the New World this was a major factor that caused deaths of about 90% Native Americans after experiencing new diseases that they had not experienced and couldn’t cure such as the flu, measles and smallpox. I think that bringing light to the idea of Indigenous Peoples Day can honor those who survived these events. It can also help to start educating those about the sufferings that the Native Americans went through.

  35. Carlos McIntyre

    We should change the name of Columbus day to indigenous people’s day. However for a small portion of the holiday we should still acknowledge the fact that without Columbus, none of us would be here but that he caused a mass genocide and slavery of Native Americans. This would be a good solution because we are acknowledging the fact that Columbus was part of causing America to exist, however he caused a lot of terrible things to happen to the Native Americans. The main focus of the holiday should be to remember what happened to the Native Americans due Columbus’ mistreatment of them. Columbus came to America and claimed to have discovered it himself when really another person aboard the ship, he was the precursor to the many others coming and stealing, killing, and capturing natives. According to Zinn, on page 10, it says that Columbus exaggerated reports and was able to get seventeen ships and twelve thousand men for his second exhibition to America. The main purpose of this trip had two agendas, gold and slaves. Many of the slaves died in captivity so Columbus had to fill his ships up with gold. The Spanish made a native tribe look for gold specks in rivers, however this was an impossible task and many tried to run away but were killed by the Spanish, this caused a massive suicide wave and a killing of infants to stop the Spanish from getting them. This mass genocide is a reason why we should celebrate Columbus day more for acknowledgment of the Native Americans and less for the reason that Columbus “discovered” America. The name, and point of Columbus day should be changed to indigenous people’s day so that way we are not putting a man up of a pedestal for killing Native Americans, we put him down for what he did, and we are acknowledging that he caused America to become the country it is today.

  36. Andrew Inda

    As we all know, Cristopher Columbus not only “discovered” America for the New World, but created the vision of what this country is today. This discovery helped change and develop the world at a faster rate than ever before. Even though this is true, I feel that celebrating a holiday just dedicated to him is too much. I believe that we should acknowledge his works, but also keep in mind of how this continent actually came to be.
    When Columbus had first seen the Natives, all he could think about was transforming them into servants, and forcing them to follow the ways of the Catholic Church. Turns out, this is what he did. Columbus at first enslaved many Natives surrounding his settlement, using them for simple tasks like farmers and servants. When he eventually went home to tell the queen of his experience and discoveries, he brought with him Indians, forcing them into slavery. News of gold had also hit him, further intensifying this system. It later developed into what we know today as the Encomienda system, forcing strict mining and farming in harsh conditions for long periods of time. Europeans enforced quotas of what amount of gold enslaved Natives should be able to bring per a certain amount of time. If this was not completed, those Natives would be killed. This was just the start of the tortures, as Europeans later turned it into mass beatings, rape, and other cruelties. Even worse, Natives sick of this forced labor who tried to run away and were found were beaten and murdered. Although not directly the Europeans fault, diseases brought from the Old World like smallpox were no help either, killing millions of Natives who could do nothing about it. All in all, this shift in time was not as great as it seemed, due to the millions who had lost their dignity and lives just for the new settlers and their greed.
    Although Columbus did advocate and persue such evil methods in this era, I feel that it is still important to aknowledge him for his works. His “discovery” was able to transform society and give it a new goal. America would most likely not be where it is today without his input, and his recognition should still be given because of it.

  37. Matthew Inda

    Although being celebrated for over two centuries, Christopher Columbus and the day named after shouldn’t be remembered as positive. Rather than celebrating Columbus day, an Indigenous day should be introduced and be used as a solemn reminder of the events in which took place to them. Firstly, Christopher Columbus never “discovered” our nation in which we celebrate him for, but rather arrived at South America, Central America, and the modern-day Caribbean Islands. Additionally, from the Zinn reading done in class, Columbus stole the yearly pension of $10,000 from another sailer in which was aboard the vessel with him, saying that he saw land the night before. The pension was awarded to the first man to see land from the ship. Rodrigo was honest when he said he saw land; however, Columbus lied to his crewmates and himself when he announced that he would take the fortune instead when announcing that he spotted a light the previous night. As Columbus first set foot onto the New World and spoke to the Natives, his first though was what good slaves they would make. Columbus, along with his men, was also a murder, and responsible for a plethora of deaths of Native Americans to bring gold and wealth back to Spain. One way he did this was the utilization of the encomienda system, which forced Natives in mines to search for gold in order for the Spanish to spare their lives and not cut off their hands. The explorer was also a rapist, and sold many of the Natives into slavery against their will. Columbus doesn’t deserve to be celebrated; he was not only a liar, but a murderer of many innocent Natives. October 12th shouldn’t be recognized in honor of Columbus, but rather the people in which he inflicted pain and suffering upon. Though being a large change, it is one that is necessary to make America better and improve its standings for all citizens. Columbus shouldn’t be forgotten; instead, recognized for what he actually stood for.

  38. Lily Koza

    Columbus Day, a national holiday celebrated every year throughout America. A holiday that marks the discovery of our nation. Although in reality this is not entirely true. Columbus has taken credit for many discoveries and gotten praise that I believe he does not deserve. A sentence stuck out to me in the past reading from the article A people’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn “In return for bringing back gold and spices, the promised Columbus 10 percent of the profits, governorship over new-found lands, and the fame that would go with the new title; Admiral of the ocean.” My interpretation of this text is the idea that Christopher Columbus went to the Americas for the fame and fortune to follow.
    I believe Columbus Day should be changed to Indigenous People’s Day due to the facts regarding Columbus’ inhumane treatment towards the Native Americans. This included thousands of murders on the previously free-living Native Americans. The English, commanded by Christopher Columbus, unrightfully intruded on land civilized by the Native Americans and claimed it as theirs. Many Indians were captured and kept as miners to search for the goal for the Englishman, Gold. Wrongfully the English nearly exiled the entire Native population, leaving the, in my own opinion, real founders to be forgotten. Due to the inhuman tactics, and the mass amounts of Natives killed, existing Natives began starting mass suicides. Mothers would drown infants to save them from a worse life, and children and adults did it to free themselves.
    I believe Indigenous Peoples Day expresses the true meaning behind this importance. Meaning that the reality behind Columbus’s story was at the Native Americans expense. Overall, I believe Christopher Columbus Day should be called Indigenous Peoples Day in tribute to the pre-columbus Native Americans that lived throughout the Americas.

  39. Kenny Pepper

    I believe that there is no other way to celebrate Columbus Day without a solemn reminder of what happened to the Native Americans after Spain’s arrival. Columbus’s new world discovery has led to the establishment of one of the greatest countries in the world, but the “untold truth” about how Columbus obtained previously owned Native Land is filled with grewsome facts can’t be ignored. Author Howard Zinn highlights the negative impact of Columbus’s arrival in his novel A People’s History of the United States. Zinn talks about how Columbus took some of the native Arawaks as prisoner to lead him to gold. Columbus had promised gold to the Spanish government and was taking heat for not producing. Columbus took the Native Arawaks as prisoners and gave them a set amount of gold they needed to collect. If they didn’t reach the amount h had asked for, their hands would be cut off and they would often bleed out to death. In addition, after Columbus, other Spanish conquistadors arrived in the new world and treated the Natives just as poorly. Spaniards would test the sharpness of their knife by cutting off slices of Natives skin and would force some natives to carry them around. All these negatives would lead you to believe that Columbus Day should be abolished, but at the other end of this Native American genocide is the fact that without Columbus, there is no America. Today, we celebrate Columbus Day in memory of our earliest discovery, and I don’t think that should be brushed aside even though it came at such a terrible cost. On top of that though comes with maybe the most important part of the holiday, acknowledging what happened in order to lead to the discovery of America. We need to offer more appreciation to the Natives who we basically took the land from on Columbus Day. A combination of deep appreciation for the Native Americans before us and for the early discovery of America would make up the ideal Columbus Day celebration.

  40. Thomas Forberg

    I think we should keep Columbus day.Christopher Columbus was significant to the development of america, if he wouldn’t have sailed for Spain in search of Asia, who knows how long it would have been till someone else discovered it. His discovery put North and south america on the map. on Columbus day we celebrate the recognition that Columbus sailed a voyage to put our great nation into motion. America has become so much, it is the worlds most powerful country. Although as a result the native populations were wiped and enslaved, it marks a time in which america was growing. Slavery and eradication of people is one of the worst things in the world and that’s nothing to celebrate, but i believe Columbus day has nothing to do with that. i think it symbolizes the landing in Hispaniola. The native people were oppressed enslaved and riddled down almost to extinction, but they managed to stay a group and people in society. They are among-st the strongest group of people to ever live. Therefore i believe that Natives people day should be its own holiday, not to conflict Columbus day but to celebrate the strength of the native people, but also the curiosity of Columbus. I think that Columbus day should not change, and i think that what we celebrate in Columbus day is not the destruction of the native population but the widespread growth in colonies that became america. Columbus got the British dutch and french to join in on the colonization of the new world which led to the world we live in today. The natives a group of people who were here before the settlers and their land was taken. their culture was nearly wiped out, i think that natives people day would shed light and gain understanding for the native people of america

  41. Sarah Johns

    On October 12, our nation celebrates the holiday of Columbus Day. This holiday claims to celebrate the day Christopher Columbus “discovered” America. I believe that we should abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous People Day. It shouldn’t be celebrated because Columbus didn’t really discover anything in the first place. There were Native Americans already living and thriving on this land before Columbus even mistakenly tripped over it. Columbus also started the mass murder of the Natives. Though he wasn’t responsible for all the deaths of the Native Americans, he sparked an idea to explore and colonize the New World. The explorers and colonizers that came after him killed and enslaved many of the Native Americans. According to Howard Zinn, Native American husbands and wives were often separated by slave owners for months at a time and were worked to death. Some parents were so desperate that their kids don’t grow up to have the life they have, they would often drown their babies. The old World travelers killed almost half the Native American Population. Zinn also talks about how Columbus took advantage of the Natives. When he first hit land, him and his crew were created by Native Americans bearing gifts and food. These Native Americans wouldn’t say no to anything, Columbus mentions. He took these people for his slaves, doing anything he wished. On his second expedition, he lied and said his motive was to find gold when in reality he was just there to enslave more people. Though many states made the transition to Indigenous People Day, I think that we need to make a national transition. Columbus was a bad person and by celebrating Columbus Day we are celebrating the mass murder, enslaving, and inhumane treatment of Native Americans. I think we should instead celebrate Indigenous People Day to remember the Native Americans that were harshly treated, and to celebrate the Natives that are still around so their culture doesn’t die. Though I think we should abolish it, I believe that we should still talk about Columbus day so that future generations can learn what we celebrated and why it was taken away.

  42. Asia White

    Columbus day is celebrated every year, children are taught that Columbus “discovered” America while abandoning the fact that the Indigenous people were already here and Columbus and the Spaniards killed thousands of them. I think we should acknowledge Columbus Day while having a solemn reminder of what had happened to the Indigenous people during that time. We should recognize that what the Spaniards did was a significant advancement in the world. Columbus was brave and courageous to make a journey around the world to look for Asia but after all, he found the New World. America wouldn’t be America without Columbus going on his expedition to look for the trading route which was in Asia, because the old route to Asia which Marco Polo had taken, was cut off by the Ottomans at the Constantinople, so Columbus wanted to find a faster way to get to the trade route which held precious metals, and spices. On his expedition when he finally discovered land he did not discover “America” he came across the Carribean islands, he planned to settle there and encountered the Indigenous people, who were extremely generous in helping the Spaniards settle. Columbus was in search for gold when he asked for help from the natives, which they had no desire or interest in the value of gold, there was no luck in finding the gold. Due to that, he killed and “enslaved” the Natives but they never considered what they were doing as slavery but instead saw them as servants. Columbus wasn’t the only person to kill the indigenous but he started a rivalry between the Spaniards and the indigenous people. Columbus day is a day to recognize because without the discovery of the New World by the Spaniards America wouldn’t be America. And for that, we also need to acknowledge the damage the “discovery” had done to the indigenous people.

  43. Hannah Deighan

    Columbus day is a day that celebrates Christopher Columbus’s “discovery” of America and all of his “accomplishments”. I do not think Columbus is worthy of being celebrated. He lied, stole and killed his way into building our Nation, all for fame, glory and power. First of all, Columbus didn’t discover America. There was already an entire civilization of Native Americans living here, and the Vikings has come here 500 years before. He landed in the Bahamas but never actually stepped foot in America. In A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, it talks about the fact that Columbus wasn’t the first person on the ship to discover America. Another sailor, Rodrigo, saw the island in the morning, but Columbus claimed he had seen it the night before, and recieved a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis. Now I do give Columbus credit for being the one to embark on this journey, but we also have to remember, his intention was not to discover new land. He wanted to find a shortcut to Asia, but didn’t realize there was a whole continent blocking his path. Columbus’s treatment of the Native Americans was cruel and unacceptable. As soon as he got to the island and met the Native Americans he wrote in his diary “They would make fine servants…With 50 men we could subjugate all of them and make them do whatever we want” (Zinn). Columbus’s motives were fame, power and wealth, so he did whatever he could to achieve those things. He captured slaves and shipped them back to Europe, where the ones who survived were sold as servants. He forced them to collect gold for him to pay back his investors, and if they didn’t collect enough, he would cut off their hands and they bled to death. Or he would hunt them down with dogs and hung or burned them to death. This lead to many Native Americans committing suicide. In just 2 years half of the 250,000 Indians were dead. A Patriot’s History of the United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen argues that Columbus didn’t kill any Native Americans, and they dies of other reasons such as disease. Now yes, a large portion of them died from diseases, but those were diseases that we had brought over from Europe that their immune systems were not used to. In conclusion, I do not think we should celebrate Columbus day and celebrate Indigenous People day instead to honor all of the Native Americans and recognize all of the innocent people that were killed for one man’s happiness.

  44. Aarani Balendran

    Right now, we celebrate a nation-wide government holiday on October 12th, known as Colombus Day. On this day we remember and celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the New World. Although this holiday has been an American tradition throughout our history, I believe that Colombus did not deserve this honor. Yes, he found the New World and created the foundation of our nation today, but do we really want to be proud of a man who nearly killed a population and brought slavery to our country? I believe that we should use that day to remember what the Native Americans went through.
    Columbus has done countless things that have made him undesirable to many Americans. In the Zinn article, it is mentioned that Columbus had taken credit for finding land when in reality someone else did. He also lied multiple times saying that he found lots of Gold, and eventually was able to persuade the Royal family to increase his power in the New World. He continued to lie and exaggerate throughout the time of his explorations. In addition to this, he constantly exploited the Native Americans. When he arrived he noticed they were very generous and offered everything. Knowing they were vulnerable, he used them to make his lie about the gold the truth. He told them they had to find gold every three months and they would receive a copper token. Any Native found without a token would get their hands cut off and bleed to death. He furthered this exploitation by taking women and children in as hostages and used them as sex and labor slaves.
    These actions shouldn’t be praised, especially if many people find Columbus a terrible person. The Native Americans that did eventually get through their mass murder, have created communities and deserve awareness to what they went through. We should, as a country, make an effort to appreciate these people. One way we could do this is to dedicate a day to them.

  45. Clare Birley

    Christopher Columbus has been considered a hero for many decades, but oftentimes people don’t realize what he first accomplished when arriving at Hispaniola in search for Asia. The indigenous people there, the Arawaks, first greeted the Spaniards in 1492 with generosity, bringing Columbus’ ships gifts of food and other trinkets. In early correspondence with the court of Spain after reaching the island, he described the Natives as “…would make fine servants… with fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want” (Zinn, 9). This unfortunately is exactly what they did. Las Casas, a firsthand account of what took place on the island, described the torture the Arawaks were put through. Some were sent as slaves back to Spain, though a good portion died en route. Men were sent to the mines, while women were required to field the plantations, and oftentimes babies had died of malnutrition due to lack of breast milk. Mothers sometimes even drowned their babies to save them, and procreation seemed to cease altogether. This caused the Native population to plummet, and by 1650, there were no Arawaks left. Though the article by Schweikart and Allen describes Columbus as “…embodies the best of the new generation of navigators:resilient, courageous, and confident” (3), their article makes the critical mistake that many historians have made before: overlooking the harsh realities of what colonists did to the Native Americans. This is no better shown in a popular book about the navigator: Christopher Columbus, Mariner, where the author “mentions the truth quickly and goes on to other things more important to him” (Zinn, 12). Columbus Day should be discarded as a national holiday in favor of indigenous people’s day, because of the genocide and enslavement that the Native American people had gone through in colonial America and Hispaniola.

  46. Mostafa ghanem

    We should get rid of Columbus Day and switch it with indigenous people day. We have been remembering Christopher Columbus for years. Who was a bad person in the first place. He had killed thousands of native people. He is not someone we should celebrate in the first place. When we celebrate it our government looks bad because it’s shows that the government supported what Christopher Columbus did to the native Americans. For example Columbus had tried to enslave many natives when he first came to the Americas. He did not see them as equal. He looked at them as savages. He would cut the hands off of native Americans if they did not listen to him.If we switch it to celebrate indigenous people day where we celebrate all of the native people who lived ok the land before and condemn all of the killing that happened. It is the least we can do after how we have treated the native people. We have killed so many and moved many out of their homes on bad reservations. We could celebrate the diversity of all tribes and have it be a national holiday. People all around the country would learn more about the natives. The natives would have big festivals where they dress and dance in the traditional clothes and dancing. It would be a time for the U.S. to finally talk about all the bad things they did and admit that our founders were wrong. The natives feel forgotten by the Americans. The natives because of American government is the poorest people in America and they need a day where they can be celebrated by all. It would not change all of the bad things that had happened in the past but it would help. That’s why we should change Columbus Day for indigenous people day.

  47. Ryan Goodman

    I think we should continue to celebrate Columbus day, but do it in a way that honors Native Americans as well. Columbus is still considered the man who discovered the New World, and that should be celebrated. But we do need to take Columbus’s success with a grain of salt. For example, the Zinn article describes Columbus as a dishonest and murderous man who stole credit for discovery of the New World and murdered 100s of natives. He also states that Columbus required Natives to bring a certain amount of gold each month. If they didn’t, he would cut off their hands and leave them to die, bleeding out. On the other hand, the Schweikart article describes Columbus as am honest, intelligent man who had no evil intentions and treated the Natives relatively well. He states that Columbus was a humble merchant and explorer trying to make his way in the world. Either way, he is widely considered the discoverer of the New World, and that discovery led to America. If not for Columbus, our amazing country would not exist, and I think that needs to be celebrated. I think Columbus day should be changed from just celebrating his discovery, to adding a celebration of diversity, America, and honoring the Native Americans. We need to incorporate them into this holiday, because his discovery destroyed there world. Columbus day should be used as a way to speak out and advocate for Native Americans, and to help and support them. Organized fundraisers or community service programs could be implemented as a way for the country to repent for it’s actions. I think that this change will be beneficial for the country and Native Americans. It’s important to celebrate the discovery of our country, but it’s just as important if not more to remember and help the people we hurt in the process. Although it wasn’t out generation that did the damage, it’s our generation of Natives that are suffering. They live in impoverished reservations, where the mortality age is 2/ years younger and 70% of the population are alcoholics. This needs to change and making Columbus day a day to honor and help Natives is overall a beneficial solution.

  48. Liam O'Gorman

    Christopher Columbus day is a national holiday that celebrates the crossing of the Atlantic ocean to reach the new world, which led to the eventual colonization of America. The controversy over this is that this discovery led to the genocide and horrific acts of violence on the Native Americans and celebrating it every year is morally wrong. I think that we should celebrate it but also acknowledge that the colonization took many lives as a solemn reminder. According to Howard Zinn, Columbus’s main motive in the new world are to spread christianity and get gold, it was never his intentions to spread diseases that killed thousands or start a genocide that killed and enslaved many, even his motive to cross the Atlantic ocean was to find a new trade route to Asia. Later colonizers were the ones who enslaved and killed many and committed atrocities. The Natives were kind and helpful to Christopher Columbus so he had no reason to slaughter them and although he did capture Indians it wasn’t as harmful as later on. But the past cannot be undone, so now we should remember them and call forward the bad things about founding this nation. Having this holiday celebration over his discovery and have it as a sad reminder of the blood spilled to form this country is a way we can realize mistakes in the past but also acknowledge the founding of our country. As we celebrate it now, we are celebrating the founding of this country, not the hundreds of thousands of lives taken to make it which is the reason people want to get rid of it. Getting rid of it would be unpatriotic and also not be able to honor the people it was built on.

  49. Adam Rhenq

    Columbus Day should not be recognized as a national holiday. When we give him his own holiday, we are celebrating him and putting him on a pedestal. We are putting him on a higher level then the rest of us, when he was a ruthless, heartless monster. Like Howard zinn said, Columbus destroyed the Native populations and treated them like animals. He took them as slaves as made them work until death. He never showed them any humanity or sense of compassion. Not only did he kill of entire tribes, sometimes for enjoyment, but he took all their land that was rightfully theirs. He had so much hubarous filling his brain that his pride took over his brain and heart so he only did things that could benefit him. He committed a mass genocide yet, we dedicate a whole day just to him because he “ Found America”. Even though he did help start the migration to America, the ways he came to this are awful. It was not just columbus because thousands of other people working with him. This still leads back to being his fault because he gave them the orders and permission to commit these heinous crimes. Because of this, we should instead make this day Indigenous people’s day. This would let us celebrate the people’s culture that were here way before us. This makes it so we can also apologize to the peoples ancestors that we did god awful things to. Even though we should stop celebrating columbus day, we can never forget about him. He is a person that we can learn from so we don’t repeat the things he did. Just because we don’t have a holiday for him, doesn’t mean we need to erase him from history. We need to persist on and be able to tell good people form bad and not celebrate him.

  50. Mecca Terrell

    In my opinion, I believe that Columbus Day should be reestablished as Indigenous People’s Day. By doing this, it gives America the chance to honor the lives of the millions of Native American casualties that came with the discovery of the New World. It even can be seen as a way of honoring mistreated Native American descents we see today. Even though it is understandable that Columbus’s discovery of the New World was pretty much the biggest geographical breakthrough of the 15th and early 16th century, we as a nation must take into the account the calamity that resulted from Columbus’s exploration of the America’s.
    On page 10, the introduction of Zinn’s interpretation, it states how Columbus’s main objectives of his voyage was to find a new sea route to Asia in search of gold and spices, his driving force being the promise made by Spain’s king and queen of receiving 10 percent of the profits, governorship of new-found lands, and the fame and honor of being deemed the “Admiral of the Ocean Sea.” It is also said in Zinn’s interpretation that that Native American tribes such as the Arawak were incredibly welcoming and hospitable towards his ships when the Spanish arriving on the Bahama Islands, gifting them food and water. The also were very naive, seeing that they hadn’t been exposed to weapons, or even metal at all, unfortunately leaving them vulnerable to Columbus’s cruel intentions.A reflection of the information from these interpretations can give the reader a very negative outlook on Columbus as a person, seeing that he was incredibly greedy, ruthless, and power-hungry.This made him want to fulfill such desires with ill intentions, using any method he needed to to get what he wanted, even if it meant slaughtering millions of Natives along the way.
    The nation we live in right now is kind of a mess at the moment, and this part of our nation’s history isn’t pretty at all. Such claims make me think that we haven’t seemed to progress as a nation at all, that it seems like we are even going backwards when it comes to our morales and how we always find a way to pit our own people against each other. We can’t change the past, but we can maybe fix the tensions that resulted from it. The least we could do for the descents of these Native Americans is honor their fallen ancestors, and not a selfish, power-hungry man who only looked out for himself.

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