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In 1492…

By Shelby Benz, Editor

In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue… creating the first lasting tie between the Americas and Europe, and building his legacy through the enslavement of native people.  


     According to Pew Research Center, Columbus Day is one of the nation’s 10 federal holidays, yet it is inconsistently celebrated.  In 23 states, as well as the District of Columbia,  Christopher Columbus day is a paid holiday.  However, in other states and for those that are not employed by the government, the day has no significant importance.  This may be attributed to the controversy that surrounds the holiday.

     Christopher Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa, modern-day Italy, and proposed a voyage westward to the East Indies; a mission that caught the attention and support from the Spanish Crown.  Columbus had the intentions of reaching the East Indies to develop a possible trade route and to advocate for Christianity. However, many historians argue that he had initiated the genocide of Hispaniola residents and spearheaded the beginnings of the transatlantic slave trade.  He also arrived in America following the Vikings, making him only the first European to reach the west.

     On Wednesday, August 30, the L.A. Council ruled to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day on the city calendar in a vote 14-1 (LA Times).  While most of the people on the council believed that the termination of the holiday would help to make amends to the harsh treatment of native people that were impacted by the arrival of Columbus and other European settlers, others believe that it defaces Italian heritage in America.  Advocates with a more moderate view believed that in lieu of replacing Columbus Day, the council could name a new holiday in honor of indigenous people on a different date.

     Is replacing Columbus day an effective way to make amends to the Native American people?  Does the decision disregard the immigration of Italians to America?  Will this decision enact positive change in the community and act as a precedent for other cities in the nation to make a stand and reject the cruelty that was involved in establishing the country of America?

The Panther Press would love to know!  Send us your opinion to be featured on our website.

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In 1492…