Columbus Day has always been a source of contention across many states in the US. The opinion on this sensitive issue is always dividing and sometimes hurting to the sentiments of minority groups: Native Americans and the Italian community. For Native Americans, Columbus represents the age of loot and exploitation; for the Italian community, and for a lot many Americans, he was symbolizing the spirit of expedition, adventure and courage.
On this 14th of Oct, the District of Columbia has been successful to break away from tradition. DC is not observing Columbus Day, instead, its council has it completely replaced by Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Other states are soon to follow the move, especially those which honors the trail and tribulation of the aboriginals.
Ironically, Columbus never stepped into the US, and all his voyages were limited to the Bahamas. History finds Columbus on the wrong side of it. He and his fellow voyagers set cruel, almost diabolical, precedents for other Europeans. The years after he discovered the New World tells a melancholic tale of suffering for aboriginals. Europeans exploited local resources, brutally conducted an efficient genocide against locals, and on top of that, shamelessly defended it for centuries.
For the Italian community, the day has its own dark history. In 1892, when a mob in New Orleans lynched 11 Italian immigrants, the then President, Benjamin Harrison, consoled the Italian community by allowing a one-time celebration of Columbus Day. The one-time event became the national holiday, as the years passed by. And for years, it has been a proud moment for Italians to celebrate their national heritage.
It is only in recent years that history has unfolded itself to reveal unsettling truths about the past. Columbus Day has lost its legitimacy among many Americans, and the efforts to replace it have been expedited significantly.
For some, this 14th of Oct marks the day of a bold move against the oppression. They are hailing DC for leading from the front, and urging allegedly mummed voices to come forward for the cause they believe inherently right.