In the past I loved Columbus Day. It gave me a day off of school all thanks to a courageous explorer dude named Christopher. He seemed like a pretty cool guy back in history class, but I have since changed my view of this “holiday” and the man it was named after. I’ve been reading article all day and here are some of the best from a Native perspective below:
Many Native Nations (and even states) have already taken measures to change the name of the Columbus Day holiday. One example is South Dakota, where this day is referred to as Native American Day, and coincides with the large He Sapa Wacipi Powwow celebrations.
“Every Native American is a survivor, an anomaly, a surprise on earth. We were all slated for extinction before the march of progress. But surprise, we are progress.”
Two years ago, I put together a series of posts about what is commonly known as “Columbus Day” here in the US. The posts can be found here, here, here, here, and here, if you’re interested in the reasons why this “holiday” is so messed up. But this year, I decided to do something different. I just got back from an incredible weekend at my 5th year college reunion, and spent some time with just a handful of my amazing Native friends and colleagues from college. I want to share some brief snippets of what they are up to, because in these friends are counter-stories to the common conceptions about Native peoples. In sharing these stories, I’m hoping to switch narrative from just talking about how horrible Columbus was, to celebrating the resilience and excellence that abounds in the Indigenous communities of the Americas. So without further ado, some awesome Natives I have the pleasure of knowing:
While the rest of the nation celebrates Columbus Day, South Dakota celebrates Native American Day. Some American Indians have mixed feelings about it.
“Not only did we survive horrific treatment, loss of land, culture, buffalo and sacred sites, but we are here contributing as citizens,” she said. “Our story is a story of positive change. It is a great thing what Gov. Mickelson did. He recognized the rich cultural resource that we are.”
Some good memes and political cartoons: