Tamera L. Miyasato | Wednesday, October 11, 2006
“In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” We all remember this catchy little rhyme from grade school about the “discovery” of America. From an early age, children are taught to look at Columbus as a hero. When they get older they celebrate actively or just enjoy the day off on the federal holiday established to commemorate the glorious achievements of Christopher Columbus.
However, fewer Americans are celebrating each year. In fact, people in seventeen states no longer recognize the holiday. On this Columbus Day more people need to take the time to think about what they are celebrating.
When Columbus “discovered” America, there were millions of people thriving in this land. His contributions to the indigenous groups were disease, slaughter, rape, greed and an interruption of well-balanced societies. Truer facts about who Columbus really was have surfaced and many Americans, indigenous and non-indigenous alike, are re-examining Columbus’ contribution to America.
Through this, they give a more accurate portrayal. Teachers are offering young students honest accounts surrounding Columbus, allowing them to decide for themselves: hero or villain. In celebrating this man’s memory once a year, we have to ask ourselves: What are we really celebrating? For many indigenous people, it is yet another reminder of colonization, pain and injustice … America is celebrating genocide.
Tamera L. Miyasato
Native American Student
Association of Notre Dame