It is Indigenous Day, not Columbus Day


The largest genocide in human history did not happen in Nazi Germany; it happened on American Soil when 100 million Native Americans were killed. Although the United Nations does not consider this a genocide, this mass killing has all the aspects of one. Killing, causing physical or mental harm, purposely inflicting pain upon the group’s conditions, forced sterilization and transferring children to another group are all actions committed by Europeans beginning in 1492 with Christopher Columbus’ arrival to North America. Columbus found the Americas accidentally, because he wanted to find a water passage which could go from Eastern Asia to Western Europe.

Columbus did not discover the Americas, because thousands of indigenous people were already living in North and South America at the time. According to, Leif Erikson beat Columbus by centuries in discovering America. He observed the native’s culture and then left. If anything, Erikson should be credited for visiting, not discovering the Americas, since indigenous tribes were already established there.

“Columbus murdered and raped multiple people just for gold and ‘exploring’ purposes; he was also not the first person to find the Americas,” Khrizima S. ‘20 said.

This discovery led to transatlantic European colonization and the suffering of people who were already there. Europeans saw Native Americans as savages, uncultured, uneducated and inhuman beings, because they did not have the same white skin tone or religious practices.

“They could easily be commanded and made to work, to sow and to do whatever might be needed, to build towns and be taught to wear clothes and adopt our ways,” Columbus said about the natives in his journal.

Columbus Day should not be a celebrated national holiday in modern-day America, as it celebrates a man who promoted a large, deadly scale of colonization of the Native American’s culture and land.

Drawn by Unknown Artist. The children watch as their father demonstrates a hunting technique.

During the 1500s, European colonists brought diseases to the Americas, and Native Americans did not have any resistance against smallpox, Influenza, measles and chicken pox, which killed hundreds. Because of direct contact with Europeans, tribes or villages perished in a short period of time after disease transfer. Thus began the decline of a culture.

Columbus Day should be changed to Indigenous People’s Day to acknowledge that Native Americans were already living in the Americas before Columbus discovered it and to honor those who lost their lives. According to, Berkley, California changed the holiday to Indigenous People’s day in 1992, and other cities and states followed suit, such as Seattle, Wash., Ann Arbor, Mich., and Santa Fe, N.M. Recently, Cincinnati also followed the trend. The city council voted 6-0 in favor of Indigenous People’s day, with members Amy Murray and David Mann declining to vote on the matter, and Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman also excused from the meeting.

This change is a new breakaway for giving indigenous people the rights they deserve. Native Americans have endured years of abuse and mistreatment. Children were forced into schools to become more “white” or transform their original culture into the European settler’s culture. Men and women were denied the right to vote until 1924 when the federal government classified Native Americans and gave them the right to vote in national elections. Women were forced into sterilization between 1973 and 1976 by the Indian Health Service (IHS) which was since banned unless women give their consent and are willing to go through the surgery.

This is a battle we can not run from. Racial injustice is a major part of the United States today. This small step in changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day is an even bigger step in fighting racial injustice in our modern United States.