“Observing a holiday in honor of Christopher Columbus perpetuates and exploits ignorance. It hurts Native Americans by reinforcing our absence from our national consciousness and celebrating our genocide and it hurts non-Natives by reinforcing the arrival of a European as a more impressive story than the indigenous story of survival, stewardship and sovereignty.”
—Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip tribes)
Three years ago, the city of Austin (where I live) approved a resolution to recognize the second Monday of every October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Austin joined a growing coalition of states and municipalities seeking to shift focus away from Christopher Columbus and on to our country’s Native communities.
This is an example of what it means to interrogate our American mythologies.
As (what has traditionally been celebrated as) Columbus Day approaches, I’ve collected some resources that help explain why this shift is needed.
ARTICLE: How Columbus Sailed Into U.S. History, Thanks To Italians from NPR’s Code Switch
- FREE CHAPTER: Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress from A People’s History of The United States
- LESSON PLAN FOR EDUCATORS: Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day?
- MORE TEACHING TOOLS: Reconsider Columbus Day
- BOOK: Rethinking Columbus
- JUST FOR FUN: Columbus Day – How Is This Still A Thing?
POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS:
- Sign or start a petition to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in your city or state
- Gather educational resources to share with your kids’ teachers and other educators you know