13 October 2008

Why I don't celebrate Columbus Day

Today, the second Monday in October, is Columbus Day. It's a federal holiday. But I don't celebrate it.

Why, you ask? Because I don't feel that the conquest and exploitation of the native peoples of the Americas should be celebrated. Because I think celebrating the "discovery" (since the people who were already here didn't discover it) of "America" (really an island in the Caribbean) by some guy is really not that monumental. Because it's racist and blatantly assumes European superiority over native Americans.

Educate yourself about Christopher Columbus and the real story of his voyage. Read "American Holocaust" by David E. Stannard. It's a real eye-opener. I have a copy if you'd like to borrow it. Take a look at these editorials from today's NYTimes and USAToday. Read the wiki page on Columbus Day. Then think about this day and what it means to you. Is it important to celebrate the "discovery" of "America" today?

I will take today to mourn the genocide of native peoples in the name of conquest and gold. Maybe someday, if enough people are made aware of the real history of the American conquest, this day will no longer be a celebration of European superiority. Someday, hopefully, it will be a day of reparation.


Knotty Britta said...

I used to have a blog on Yahoo 360 before it went haywire and I posted pretty much the exact blog you just wrote. I agree completely. Though, any excuse to get a paid holiday for the army families is a good thing. There are so many worthy causes though, we should celebrate something else.

Mama bee said...

When I was at Humboldt State we had a day off for Cesar Chavez day rather than for Columbus Day. Much better, in my opinion, to have the day off for a civil rights leader than for a conquerer.

Daktari said...

Does anyone really "celebrate" Columbus Day? I thought it was a pretty silly holiday from the get-go.

Mama bee said...

Well, it's a Federal Holiday, so gov't employees get the day off. Plus a lot of grade school curricula include talking all about the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and their great captain who Discovered America. So we may not celebrate en masse, but we brainwash our children to think it's a day to talk about how wonderful Chris Columbus was.