Oct 12, 2015 We are open today, October 12, Indigenous Peoples Day. Columbus did not discover America
My law firm is open today, Indigenous Peoples Day, even though the Virginia courthouses are closed.
Columbus did not discover America, although his visits to the Western hemisphere did lead to European imperialism’s spread to the Western Hemisphere, and to centuries of misery and worse to the hemisphere’s native people.
CNN recently reported that “16 states, including Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon, don’t recognize Columbus day as a public holiday. South Dakota has celebrated Native American Day since 1990.” Let’s sooner rather than later add to that list the federal government, the remaining thirty-four states, and all municipalities.
Lyndon Johnson and the Congress were sorely misguided in making Columbus day a federal holiday in 1968, which happened in the process of legislating three then-existing federal holidays to Mondays.
The Columbus Day holiday is all the more misguided when no federal holiday exists to remember the Native Americans who suffered tremendously from the lengthy, brutal and unjust treatment that followed over the years and centuries after Columbus’s arrival in the Western hemisphere. Thanksgiving is not a sufficient substitute to remember and honor Native Americans, since Thanksgiving is not focused solely on native Americans and because it stems from the seventeenth century, long before people like George Custer waged violence on Indians and long before the United States government forced Indian children to boarding schools to try to de-Indianize them.
Thanks to the governments, businesses, other organizations, and individuals who decline to celebrate Columbus day. Let us keep that trend snowballing.