Mt. Carmel St. Cristina Society

Columbus Day Under Attack

Did you know...

That Columbus Day is under attack despite the fact that it is a legal federal holiday! Over the past 20 years cities and states have proposed to change the name of the holiday. So we have "Indigenous People Day" in Berkeley, CA, "Discoverer's Day" in Hawaii, "Native American Day" in South Dakota and the latest, last April, Minneapolis established an "Indigenous People Day." Oregon, Iowa, and Nevada do not celebrate Columbus Day at all and California and Texas have removed a paid holiday for state government workers.

Ironically, more than 100 year ago in 1906, Colorado was the first state to celebrate Columbus Day. How did Columbus go from being a popular symbol of exploration to "the Hitler of the 15th century"?!? Three books were published. All three were written by historians, who presented Columbus as a greedy, violent man. Now these books are found on the list of many American schools and universities. As a result, a generation of American students regard Columbus as a racist who killed millions of Indians and brought slavery to the New World.

But Columbus matters because after him, millions of other Europeans came and brought their art, music, science, medicine, philosophy, invention, and religious principle to America. Columbus Day matters especially to Italian-Americans because it commemorates the arrival of more than 5 million of their ancestors more than a century ago. But, despite these facts, Columbus Day is in danger of being eliminated. So what is next? Do we ban St. Patrick's Day because of the long and bloody struggle between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland? Do we abolish Thanksgiving Day because the pilgrims built their cabins where Indians lived? An what are we going to do about the Fourth of July?

You see why Columbus Day matters!!!