Monday, October 10, 2016

Columbus Day: Is the Tide Turning?

Every year, we try to post about Columbus Day, a really troubling American holiday. This year will be short and sweet. First, there has been an increase in Indigenous People's Days across the country, and the demand might be rising. In the last year alone, at least 14 places have made the change from Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day. This is encouraging. Second, recognition of American brutality to American Indians/Native Americans (I've gotten a mixed response from the community about what they prefer to be called) has absolutely risen. This can be seen in sports, hardly a place for American sensibilities (though that is also changing, thanks to #BlackLivesMatter, amongst other movements). Several teams have changed mascots, have changed chants, have changed logos, and there's a huge stink over one that hasn't (the D.C. football team, who, coincidentally, seem to be subject to a series of unfortunate events....just saying). Third, American Indian/Native American culture has gotten a lot more attention, evidenced by the very popular new-ish Smithsonian Museum. I'm not saying everything is grand, and that we can finally be rid of the inaccurate portrayal of Columbus and the minimization of the role of Native Americans/American Indians in American history (conservative Texas schools have a large influence on national textbooks, and they have definitely gotten some troubling inaccuracies into them), but this is a good start. Also, last year, God, influenced by Howard Zinn's writing, weighed in on the debate (this is a hilarious video). For more thoughts, click here.