Columbus Day: a celebration of genocide

Who is Christopher Columbus?

Columbus was a Spanish Explorer, who, funded by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, took to the high seas to stake claim in land and bring his country glory. A simple man looking for alternate trade routes to Asia, truly a genuine figure. He ran into some peaceful indigenous people that had no prisons, no weapons, and no criminals. As an added bonus, the indigenous people had lots of things to teach him, like farming, hunting, and where to find gold. As a whole, Columbus made Spain a very rich country.

But who was Columbus really?

Columbus was a man that raped, pillaged, enslaved, and ruined the lives of the indigenous people of America. So why do we celebrate him?

America has a long-standing tradition of honoring atrocious white men, Columbus being no exception. He falls in the ranks of Andrew Jackson and Adolf Hitler. A leader that went to extremes to fulfill his need for wealth and power, Columbus fits the perfect mold of the white, greedy man.

Columbus Day is a joke to many, a fun day off of school or work. Many students don’t even put the thought into why they aren’t crammed into a desk in a poorly air-conditioned room. But think, around the country, students sleep in late and don’t attend school because one man decided to brutally overcome the indigenous people of a land that was no one’s.

Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

We are taught silly rhymes about great “explorers”. Why aren’t students taught truthful epithets like, “Columbus raped, pillaged, and murdered hundreds of thousands of people.”

An excerpt from Columbus’ personal diary reads, “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

Not only was this man a rapist and a thief, but he was a child sex trafficker. There are few crimes this man has not committed.

A man that stole his way into the New World is no hero of mine. A man that demolished one of the richest cultures in history is nothing to celebrate. A man that brought wide-spread disease to a new land is an abomination. A man that worked people to death is not a historical figure I want to remember positively.

Columbus incited a genocide that caused almost an entire ethnicity to disappear, never to return in its prime again. In America today, there are 326 reservations where Native Americans cling to the remains of a lost culture. Columbus took something from the world that can never be regained: Native American culture. Although the mass destruction of Native culture continued long past Columbus’ death, the detrimental start can be attributed to him.

Native American people are no different than the African people conquered by the malicious and brutal Europeans, mainly Belgians. Native American people were called savages and cannibals, but in reality Europe is savage. Savagery is killing and stealing for personal gain. Savagery is wiping out cultures and tribes of people because they lack the superior weaponry.

I implore students to think about what October 10th really means. Does it mean the continued glorification of imperialism and power-grabs? Does it mean the repeated mocking of Native Americans living in government designated reserves? What is Columbus Day to you, and why let it continue?

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