A Washington D.C. City council has approved a measure to abolish the celebration of Columbus Day, which usually takes Oct 14, to be replaced by Indigenous People’s Day. Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer credited with discovering America, is under attach figuratively.
D.C Councilmember David Grosso proposed emergency legislation this week to rename the American Holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, joining states and jurisdictions across the country that argued to have Christoper Columbus and other colonizers oppressed the native people already living in America. Despite being passed a temporary bill, the legislation will require congressional approval within 225 days to become permanent. Otherwise, the bill will expire mid-may 2020, automatically reverting back to Columbus Day next year.
Columbus day was officially designated as a federal holiday in 1937, despite the fact that Columbus did not discover North America. Re-written to portray him as a champion, the day forgets to take into account the enslavement, colonisation, mutilation and the massacre of thousands of Indigenous People in the Americas. The new legislation says Columbus Day – the holiday to honour him is ‘in reverence to a divisive figure whose actions against Indigenous People run counter to the values of equality, diversity, and inclusion- values that the District of Columbia has long embodied- and serves only to perpetuate hate and oppression, in contrast to the values the District espouses on a daily basis”.
Other American states feel the same way as DC Councilmember David Gosso.
With more than 130 cities across America declaring Columbus Day as Native American Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, several state and local governments across the country have recognised and acknowledged the harm done to Native Americans while minimalising the celebration of their history and culture. However, as per usual the Ku Kluz Klan or popularly know as the KKK points out the work to stop Columbus Day celebration, smash statues and reserve his growing influence on the American culture as a tragic loss for the generations ahead.
They believe that the day houses the bravery and boldness that Columbus displayed in his trek to America, calling on the admiration to push limits of the frontiers, that “drove us and gave us the envelope to secure for ourselves a better future than those who’ve come before us”.
Despite the controversy around the topic, most of America seems to be on the side of David Grosso and the 130 American cities to finally take accountability for stealing the future of the many thousands of Indigenous people by suppressing their suffering and culture to re-write America’s history.