Monday, October 11, 2010

Reconsider Columbus Day!

Do you celebrate Columbus Day? Do you talk to your kids about it? Do you not really think about it?

I understand why we celebrate it - it's good to think about where "we" started. But is that really where "we" started? And is it ok to act like what Columbus (and his peeps) did was honorable, since it got us to where we are today?

I don't think we should celebrate Columbus Day. I think we should replace it with a Native American remembrance day. Not just to celebrate their culture - that's important and I'm glad we have a Native American Heritage Month (November) but Iwould like a day that focuses on honoring the great loss that the native nations suffered.


I hate our reluctance to admit that we screwed up. Today, one of my co-workers posted a motivational quote on Facebook, and it started out something like, "Remember, there are no mistakes - only lessons learned."

Ok - I get that sometimes we beat ourselves up too much and get stuck focusing on the negative. But why can't we call a mistake, a mistake? We did likely learn a lesson from it - but it was still a mistake. Why live under a mantra of "I don't have regrets"? What is so wrong with admitting your imperfection? What is so wrong with saying "I have not always made the best choices?"

This bugs me, both personally and as part of our national culture. Why can't we just say that we got some things horribly wrong? Why can't we be willing to teach our kids that along with the "freedom" we fought for, we also stepped on a lot of people to get to where we are today?

This is the sort of blind nationalism and "patriotism" that I don't understand. I want my children to be able to see the good and the bad and to weigh pros & cons. I don't want my kids to blindly follow ANYTHING.

I think we should get rid of Columbus Day. It's time that we as a nation set this straight.

Visit the Reconsider Columbus Day website- learn about some who are petitioning to change the day. Here is the petition content (coloring mine):

To: All people of the world
Congress of the United States
Senate of the United States
President of the United States


We the undersigned come together before you to request that each of these governing bodies take all necessary action to bring about a Federal Holiday for Native American Elected Leaders, To include Congressional hearings on the racial exclusion of Native Americans in movies, television, sports advertising, music companies, etc.

With the special government to government relationship between the Indian Government of America and the Federal Government it is fitting for the Federal Government to enact this holiday, and conduct Congressional hearings.

Indian governments and the people they represent are requesting that the federal government bring about a National Holiday for Native Americans to be celebrated by all citizens of America and people around the world.

This holiday would pay tribute to Indian Tribal Leaders to include Alaskan Leaders and Hawaiian Leaders. This holiday would also pay tribute to those that endured the world's longest holocaust and most costly in human lives.

It is further stated that no Indian Government nor its people find reason to celebrate and pay for Columbus Day.Seventeen states do not recognize Columbus Day. The state of South Dakota has changed Columbus day to Native American Day.

Therefore be it resolved that the Federal Government should reevaluate Columbus Day by moving it back to its original day the second Wednesday of October and not be a tax paid holiday as is St. Patrick's Day and Octoberfest, and make the second Monday of October a Federal holiday for Native Americans.

The polls we conducted across the country show that the vast majority of Americans prefer changing Columbus Day as to creating a whole new holiday.

It is inappropriate for Indian children and children of America to celebrate Columbus discovering a nation of people and not having a holiday paying tribute to the people of those nations.




2 comments:

Doug Stephens said...

I put up a post today that said pretty much the same thing on my I Like Cheese blog. I proposed we have an "American Heritage Day" instead.
I don't really think we need a Native American Heritage Day. Instead of more reasons to divide us and separate us, one day for all of to look at our hisotry as a whole might be a good idea.

Ashley said...

Hi Doug! How would you see an American Heritage Day being celebrated - that's interesting to me.

I like having days that celebrate specific groups, whether it's Mother's Day, Veteran's Day or hopefully one day, Native American Remembrance Day (or something like that). I don't feel separated or divided by celebrating something that I don't have a personal connection to (though I do have a slight personal connection to this issue). I enjoy it.

I think that most of the time, we either choose to acknowledge someone who has a difference, or we ignore them altogether. But in acknowledging their difference, so often we realize that we actually have things in common. I would rather go that route than ignoring a group altogether because then you don't learn of their unique story and you also don't learn how connected you are.

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