Should We Celebrate Columbus Day Essay

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The Zinn Education Project also includes a bunch of primary sources related to Columbus, such as writings by Bartolomé de La Casas.

These books have fueled the trends I mentioned around Columbus Day.

I think history teachers have a responsibility to prepare students to comment critically and participate critically in the discourse about who we are honoring, who we are celebrating, and how we are doing it.

Every fall in recent memory has reignited the ongoing handwringing about the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World, and the legacy his "discovery" left us. Native American activist groups, among others, see Columbus as a European colonizer who set in motion the genocide of an entire people.

Once upon a time, teachers celebrated Columbus Day by leading children in choruses of song about the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

Should We Celebrate Columbus Day Essay Reader Response Essay

If the commemorations dealt at all with the impact of European exploration on the indigenous civilizations already flourishing in these “discovered” lands, it was often fleeting.As a citizen, you need to be able to critically engage and reflect in a discourse around the public celebration and honoring of historical events and figures. You need to be able to deeply understand the profoundly problematic past of this great nation. has celebrated the second Monday of October as a federal holiday, an "annual reaffirmation by the American people of their faith in the future, a declaration of willingness to face with confidence the imponderables of unknown tomorrows," according to a Senate report from the year Congress made Columbus Day a federal affair.But the reasons we still have a holiday in his name are pretty straightforward.A genocide happened in "the Americas," and it began with Columbus.When it comes to celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day, I want to make sure we do justice to indigenous folks.And in general, we want to students to engage with controversy. If we have a holiday honoring somebody, the question on everyone’s mind should be, “Why are we honoring them? ” Those are important questions we want to ask as citizens.Columbus did not “discover America,” but his voyages began the Columbian exchange, a turning point in world history involving the massive transfers of human populations, cultures, ideas, animals, plants, and diseases. How could we look at this from a different perspective?In recent years, the conversation has become more nuanced, as educators — and people across the country — have begun to explore the many reasons why celebrating Christopher Columbus is problematic: the violent abuse of indigenous peoples, the launch of the transatlantic slave trade, and the introduction of a swath of lethal diseases to an unprepared continent.Just as the country grapples with the meaning and problems of Confederate monuments, so too are schools, towns, and even whole states grappling with “Columbus Day.” Many are deciding to rename and refocus the holiday, choosing to call it Indigenous Peoples' Day to honor the people whose lives and cultures were irreparably damaged by the colonial conquest that the age of exploration ushered into being.


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