To the Editor:
Schools across America teach their young students the iconic rhyme: “Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.” However, one perspective is left out of the rhyme: the indigenous people of America, Tainos. Over the past few decades, Americans have controversially proposed for Columbus Day be renamed “Indigenous People's Day”, in order to acknowledge the culture and presence of the natives in America. Overall, Columbus Day should remain a national holiday because it celebrates the discovery of American soil and cultural diffusion; however, the day should be also dedicated to the indigenous people of America.
In schools, Christopher Columbus is painted as a hero, where the most basic details students learn about him are: he sailed the ocean blue in 1492 from Spain, he was looking for gold, he tried to sail to India, he discovered America, the end. Today, many argue that Columbus didn’t actually discover America since native American tribes like the Tainos had already been living there. Similarly, historian, Warren H. Carroll defined “discovery” as: “when an individual or a nation finds something...or some places of special importance, not previously known to them.”
Carroll supports Christopher Columbus as the “discoverer of America” because the land was a discovery to them, and to Spain. Yes, the indigenous people had already inhabited the land, but the efforts and dication of Columbus should not be discredited on Columbus Day.
Now, there’s the perspective of the Tanios. While in the New World, Spanish Missionary Priest,
Bartolome de las Casas observed and drew graphic images of Tanios being abused, kidnapped, sold into slavery, and killed. Columbus’s men unfortunately executed these actions under Columbus, discrediting him as a hero. But after more analysis, his orders should not necessarily overrule his contributions to America because his discovery was the foundation of this country.
He deserves recognition for his contributions in ‘discovering’ the New World, but it’s extremely important to educate current and new generations about the truth of his actions and its indigenous people of America. In simple terms, it would be a day about embracing both parties, and how they contributed to the beautiful country we live in today.