Columbus Day


Arwa Ouali

Columbus Day is one of only two U.S. holidays where an individual is praised. This year on October 12, schools across this country have off this day to commemorate Columbus. What are students really celebrating though?

Before we praise Columbus for all the transformation his voyage in 1492 caused, let’s understand both sides of the story. Students are taught that Columbus “discovered” the new world and brought over civilization even though the land was occupied by indigenous peoples. Students are fed the amazing things Columbus did like exploring and daring to travel where no one has ever gone before. Students aren’t told that he enslaved the natives he found, shipped some to Spain (many of whom died along the way), separated families, and committed such despicable acts of cruelty. In addition, many indigenous peoples have challenged why there is a day for Columbus, but not for native Americans who have lived in the Americas for thousands of years.

A survey done with 36 KHS respondents found that 75% of students did not believe Columbus Day should be a holiday, while the other 25% did. One individual against the holiday writes “he stole the land from the natives, enslaved them, and murdered them.” Another individual against the holiday writes that “we shouldn’t have a holiday dedicated to an individual known for committing inhumane atrocities.” However, a student for the holiday wrote that “the world wouldn’t be as far technologically as it is today” without him. Another student for the holiday is only so “because we have off on school.” No matter how one feels we have the responsibility of searching for the whole truth before one can come to any conclusion.