Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates Native Americans and recognizes them as the first inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere, including the United States.
It also encourages Americans to learn more about Indigenous peoples, and the true history of colonization.
The false notion that he did negates the existence of Indigenous people in the Americas for thousands of years before he landed.
Prior to his arrival, Native nations had their own governments, built complex civilizations and used extensive trade routes.
Columbus was a genocidal slave trafficker personally responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Arawaks, and he set off a chain of events that led to the decimation of Indigenous populations throughout North, Central, and South America.
The estimated number of Indigenous people who died between 1492 and the mid-1600s due to massacres, enslavement, and the rapid spread of disease introduced to the Western Hemisphere by Europeans.
But state and local governments can decide not to celebrate it and establish new holidays, like Indigenous Peoples’ Day, instead.
Hawaii has replaced Columbus Day with Discoverers’ Day, in honor of the Polynesian people who discovered the Hawaiian islands.
States that observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day via proclamations:
And . . .
Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. ... From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population.
Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. ... Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.
Required reading: Meet the survivors of a ‘paper genocide,’ A leader of the indigenous Caribbeans known as the Taíno describes how his people’s history was erased—and what they’re doing to get it back