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The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanks Chris?

Ah, Columbus Day! The day we honor Christopher Columbus for...well, not discovering America, because that honor likely goes to Lief Erickson, though I'm sure the native peoples would dispute that they needed to be discovered, but for....huh. I'm not sure. Okay, yeah, yeah, he opened up the "New World" to the old one, and we should be grateful for that I guess, but does he deserve a holiday? He's celebrated for getting lost. He never reached the Indies (that was Vasco da Gama), but spent 4 voyages touring around the Caribbean islands. He also never set foot on US soil. Does that merit a holiday in the US? I don't know and I'll bet the native peoples that were wiped out due disease, murder, mutilation (You don't bring the gold? We chop off your hands!), enslavement-Columbus is said to be responsible for the practice of slavery in the Americas-and mass suicides (they're rather kill themselves and their children than be enslaved). He was, by contemporary accounts, not a nice guy. His governorship was marked by cruelty, torture, rape, and general tyranny.
As children we were taught the famous poem about him (In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue...) and how he was a brave and famous explorer. Sure, we were told he didn't make it to his final destination, but somewhere along the way, the whole genocide/enslavement thing got lost. Many states and schools do not observe Columbus Day and native Americans protest the celebration of his life. What do you think? Should we celebrate Columbus or ditch his name from the holiday? Maybe we could have an Explorers Day?

7 comments:

Cammie said...

I have to work today so I am not impressed by him

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I don't really care one way or the other. All I know is that Natalie didn't have preschool today and was a royal pain in my you-know-what while I tried to go shopping with her and the bebe...I want to stab myself in the eye with my car keys so I could go to the hospital, get a break, and maybe some nice pain meds....

Allison said...

Interesting...I never really thought much about it, to be honest!

Captain Cleavage said...

I myself have always thought columbus day was stupid...on many levels.

otin said...

Not to mention the fact that the poor people who were already on the North American Continent were then called "Indians"

Emily said...

I know! When you think of all the amazing people that aren't celebrated it seems even dumber to celebrate CC!

Emily said...

Is dumber even a word? Maybe I should have said more dumb.

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