Columbus day or Native People's Day?
Columbus Day vs Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
Indigenous Peoples Day was first celebrated in 1982 and was originally called Native American Day. It was started to honoring the contributions, history and culture of indigenous Americans, or Native Americans, as an alternative to honoring the first European discoverer or conqueror of the Americas, Christopher Columbus.
Since its inception in 1982 the nomenclature change has slowly gained momentum across the United States with the federally recognized holiday slowly replacing the past Columbus day.
Was Columbus a conqueror or a discoverer?
It really depends on who you ask whether Christopher Columbus is seen as a conqueror or discoverer, with many split on ideological lines.
On one side of the spectrum, proponents of Columbus say that he led the expansion to the New World, and at great risk and expense, connected the Americas with the rest of the world. He demystified the feat of crossing the Atlantic and spurred an age of expansion and exploration that brought cultural and culinary exchanges between the two worlds.
On the other side of the coin, Columbus is seen as a brutal murderer and genocidal expansionist whose main mission was to exploit the resources of the Americas both, natural and human resources. In some groups, Columbus is attributed for causing greater than 50 Million deaths of Native people due to his exploration in the new world via disease and war.
At the end of the day, we can agree that Columbus came to America, not first!, but on a highly publicized trip that eventually led to the 'westernization' of the Americas by various colonial powers of the time.
How do we proceed?
In the future, we expect that Indigenous (Native) People's day to be the proper way to refer to the day, the second Monday in October, where we remember and honor the culture of those who had their lives hastily turned upside down by an European Expansionist. More and more states, cities, and municipalities are recognizing the insensitivity of honoring who some call a genocidal colonist.
Regardless of how you feel on the naming subject it is important to not forget the current struggle of the descendants of the Native People of the Americas. Currently, their culture is being forgotten due to long standing historical policies of stealing the wealth of these people through government legislation.
On many times throughout the centuries, land, jobs, and freedom were taken away from the Native People on the premise of furthering the idea of the state or country. Native Americans have some of the highest rates of poverty and drug use while having slim chances for upward mobility.
How can I help Native Americans?
Give to a good charity that has the mission statement to help Native American culture from people who are experienced in tribal affairs and Native culture from a personal level. One charity we recommend in conjunction with Charity Navigator is
First Nations Organization - http://www.firstnations.org/
By supporting and authentically goo organization that believes in helping, you help the Native Americans directly in their effort to be on a same playing field as the rest of the new guests whose descendants came and started conquering this land a short 530 years ago.