Why not two?

Today is Indigenous People’s Day in some parts of the country – Alaska, for instance – and in others it remains Columbus Day.

Gov. Bill Walker in June journeyed to Utqiaġvik and signed into law legislation recognizing Indigenous People Day to “acknowledge and celebrate the contributions made by First Peoples throughout the history of this land.” For the previous two years, Walker had issued one-year observances of the day. Alaska joins only South Dakota in recognizing the newly named holiday in law.

In the wrong-headed fervor spreading across the nation to purge uncomfortable history, it is easy to see why Columbus Day would become an easy target.

Native American activists and other critics argue Christopher did not “discover” America on Oct. 12, 1492, but, instead, began its colonization and the mass genocide of its indigenous people.

The holiday and the man do have their supporters, though.

What Columbus did do, they say, is open the way to the Americas. Intending to chart a route to China, he landed in the Bahamas. Later he found Hispaniola, and, with 39 of his men, established Spain’s first colony in the Americas.

A day honoring him unofficially was celebrated in several cities and states as early as the 18th century. It not only was a day to celebrate Columbus, but for Italian-Americans to celebrate their heritage.

Throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy. It became a national holiday in 1937 after the Knights of Columbus, an influential Catholic fraternal organization, lobbied Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Whether it will remain an official holiday is questionable and that is too bad, in our view. Is it necessary, after all, to eradicate one holiday for another to exist? Is it necessary to denigrate Italian-Americans and Catholics and others who believe Columbus made a vital contribution before we can honor our indigenous people?

Stripping one holiday and replacing it with another smacks of the rawest, most servile politics.

Why be silly? Why cannot two holidays exist?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Response to Why not two?

  1. Elizabeth Henry October 10, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Well said. Another gross example of politically correct pandering. I pray Walker is only a one term governor. Columbus Day also represents the Age of Exploration. Trying to erase history does not make it go away and such days are not just ‘celebratory’ but historical markers that should cause us to think, both about the good, and the bad that we don’t want to repeat.

    Reply

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