At the first meeting of the semester, it was brought to the attention of the Faculty Senate that the two day vacation in October was being called “Columbus Day Break”, and some faculty members were not pleased.
Dr. Knowles, Chair of the Native American Studies Department, feels that calling this short vacation “Columbus Day Break” praises Christopher Columbus, even though he exploited and killed many Native Americans.
“I must strongly protest the labeling of this holiday as Columbus Day,” said Knowles. “Columbus represents colonialism and genocide to Native Americans and the recognition a day to celebrate his deeds is falling in disfavor throughout the nation.”
The suggestion to change the name of this holiday break has gone to a committee, and Knowles expects to know more on VSU’s decision after Thursday’s Faculty Senate meeting.
We at The Spectator fully support Knowles efforts to get the name of this holiday changed. While some might feel that this is going too far to be politically correct, we believe that, in 2015, keeping holidays in honor of people who killed and took away from others is primitive.
From the time that you’re in elementary school, you learn that Columbus discovered America and is the reason that you are here. However, it is not until high school or college that you learn details about Columbus’ adventure. You learn that he was not actually looking for America, he did not treat the natives well, and he was the beginning of the demise of their culture.
It took Native Americans thousands of year to rebuild their culture, and they are still suffering from the way that they were treated by Europeans.
The Spectator staff hopes VSU will take the history of Columbus’ exploit into consideration when deciding what to name this 2-day holiday.