Columbus Day Name Change

Columbus Day Name Change

Sarah Rogers

Since 1937 Christopher Columbus’ legacy has been remembered on the second Monday of October with the federal holiday of Columbus Day. But, recent controversy might lead to the name of this holiday changing. There have been many conversations over the last two decades about the history of what Christopher Columbus actually did, and the question of if we should celebrate Columbus Day in the first place. This raised the conversation across the country about whether or not the holiday honors a history of violence and the colonization of indigenous people in North America. Many people are saying that Columbus did not discover America and they note that he enslaved natives of the West Indies. In more recent years a lot of historical evidence has emerged about Christopher Columbus, that he would murder indigenous people because not enough gold was brought to him, and that he promoted the transatlantic slave trade.

“Well, If we changed the name we would recognize the oppression that indigenous peoples all across the Americas that have suffered tremendously,” Robert Cannon said.  “Many people would disagree with that, but I think we should stand up for what we think is right.”

As of now the states of Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, South Dakota as well as 55 cities (including Austin, Phoenix, Seattle, Denver, and Los Angeles) have renamed Columbus day to Indigenous People’s Day. Although, the name hasn’t been changed on a federal level. As a federal holiday, the celebration of Columbus Day is quite inconsistent. Unlike many other holidays, numerous Americans don’t have the day off. At least 16 states don’t recognize Columbus Day as a holiday, and more local governments are replacing the holiday altogether. Many people are saying it’s the right thing to do as Native Americans were treated horribly by the European settlers and the early United States. But, many Italian Americans disagree with changing the holiday. The Columbus holiday is served as a touchstone for Italian Americans, marking the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean, and that it would erase a portion of their heritage.

“Since it’s been Columbus Day for this many years I don’t think there’s any point of changing it now, we celebrate the spirit of exploration with Columbus Day it takes a lot of guts to travel into the sea of unknown,” Claire Wells, a student, said.

There has been a lot of controversy about the name change with two distinctly different sides of the situation. One side that wants to change it and take a small step in apologizing and in making amends, and another side that thinks it will erase part of their cultural heritage.