Written by Julia Rodriquez, Opinions Editor
Did we spend our holiday on Monday celebrating a man who wasn’t the first non-native to land on American soil.
Truth-out.org states that Columbus was not even the first non-native to land in the “new world;” evidence has shown that Vikings and Polynesians came long before him.
Many of us learned in elementary school that Columbus was a brave explorer who discovered the land we now call the United States of America, and so we should celebrate the “hero.”
As children, we saw him on coloring pages, standing at the edge of his boat, or greeting natives with goods to trade. Likely because it would be considered inappropriate to give children coloring pages depicting what really happened: raping, pillaging and enslavement.
According to History.com, Columbus did not even land in America on his first voyage, he landed in what is now the Caribbean Islands which were populated by tribes. Columbus did not discover anything, he invaded inhabited lands.
Not being a true discoverer is the least of Christopher Columbus’ bad qualities, because he was also a rapist and murderer. In Columbus’ journals, he described natives as well built and not knowing weapons, indicating that they would make good slaves, and that enslaving them could be easily done. Many of the enslaved natives died in transit to Europe.
Columbus additionally enslaved native women not just for serving but for sex. According to truth-out.org, Columbus bragged about the riches he encountered through selling young girls as sex slaves, and his crew wrote in their journals about the girls Columbus took for himself.
Unfortunately, enslavement was not the only horror that natives faced at the hand of Columbus and his crew. Foreign disease brought to the “new world” by Europeans killed many of the natives, lowering their numbers drastically, according to history.com.
Thankfully, as more individuals learn about the real Christopher Columbus, the celebration of him has began to die out. Some schools have replaced Christopher Columbus day with a day to celebrate Native American heritage, and others have just taken his name off the calendar.
According to npr.org, in Seattle, Columbus Day has been replaced with Indigenous People’s Day in an effort to take a stand against racism and hate, teaching everyone who Christopher Columbus really was and transforming the holiday into something good.
The entire country should follow Seattle’s lead and teach kids the truth. Christopher Columbus does not deserve the title of a hero, nor does he deserve a day dedicated to him.