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October 10, 2016

Why We Celebrate Columbus Day

By David Deming

There's hardly a more forgettable holiday than the innocuous and poorly observed Columbus Day. Celebrated in the U.S. on the second Monday in October, Columbus Day commemorates the discovery of the Western hemisphere by Christopher Columbus and the beginning of European colonization. Ironically, this obscure date has evolved into the most controversial and politicized of all holidays.

There is a movement afoot to replace Columbus Day by something called Indigenous People's Day. Notably, the emphasis is not merely to celebrate the heritage that belongs to the native peoples of the Americas but to replace and thus obliterate Columbus Day. The narrative that purports to justify the replacement of Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day goes something like this. Before the arrival of European colonists, the indigenous peoples of the Americas lived peacefully in idyllic harmony with nature. Christopher Columbus was not an intrepid explorer who opened up new vistas but a vicious slave trader who initiated the genocidal murder of native peoples by rapacious Europeans. The arrival of Europeans in the New World therefore was not an event worthy of celebration, it was a calamity that deserves condemnation. Scissors-32x32.png

The rationale for replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day is entirely disconnected from historical reality. Scissors-32x32.png


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