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As Cities Change The Name Of His Holiday, How Should We Remember Columbus?

New York City Council Speaker Calls For Review Of Two City Statues, The Dr. J. Marion Sims And The Columbus Statue
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. The rhyme we learned as children has a different meaning as an adult. As a child, you saw Christopher Columbus as a brave explorer discovering an exciting new world. But when you learn more about the man you discover that he was flawed, just like nearly every other historical figure. People have protested Columbus Day for years, but this is the first year I can remember when communities are changing the name of ‘his’ day.

Iowa City joined the town of Davenport in proclaiming Columbus Day as ‘Indigenous People Day’. In a proclamation signed by the mayor of Iowa City, it was recognized that “the Indigenous People of the lands that would later become the Americas and acknowledged that the state of Iowa is built upon the homelands of Indigenous People” 

Native Americans have been asking for such a change since the 1970’s. Statues of Columbus have been vandalized in previous years. The issue is again a hot-button topic in 2017 thanks to the removal of many Confederate Statues in some southern states.

It brings up the question of how we remember and discuss our nation’s history. Just because something is a part of our ‘history’ doesn’t mean we can’t gain a better understanding of it. It will always be a part of our history, but our views on it can change. Will taking down a statue or changing the name of a holiday help that?


[via CBS2, USA Today]

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