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For decades, Columbus Day has been a topic of discussion. In recent years, the controversy has grown. All this time, however, the voices of Indigenous Peoples’ and Native Americans have been ignored. As Columbus Day nears once again, discussions have resurfaced, and it is time America sets the record straight.
The 21st century has ushered in a new era in political activism. Now more than ever, people of all ages, especially younger people, have been less afraid to call out the United States in what it has done wrong, past and present. This is significant. Freedom and Democracy are much safer when we can collectively recognize what we have done right, and what we have done wrong.
“I think we should change it [Columbus Day] because Christopher Columbus did a lot of injustices to Native people, and he basically stole the land,” junior Kat Horrigan said.
On the other side of the issue, however, some argue that Columbus is important because he discovered America.
“I don’t think we should change it, because if we eliminate Columbus Day, even though he did a lot of things wrong, we won’t have a day to celebrate the discovery of America,” junior Cooper Kear said.
This is simply a misconception, however. What is now North America has been inhabited for thousands of years, and even other non-natives were here first: according to NPR, Vikings from Northern Europe came in about 1000, and Polynesian and Chinese explorers were possibly in North America around 1400.
“I think Columbus was a vile man. He was a rapist and an abuser, and I don’t think we should celebrate that legacy and history,” senior Avery Naipohn said.
Eric Liu, the son of two Asian Immigrants and former Domestic Policy Writer for President Clinton, casts Patriotism in a new light in his book, Become America. He states “Patriotism is not blind faith, but constant responsibility.” This is more true now than ever.
True Patriots are prepared to bring about the change that is needed to keep America strong, fair, and peaceful. In 2019, true patriotism can mean change. As we, as a nation, examine the history behind Columbus day, we must work together to make a change. It is time we listen to the voices of Indigenous Peoples.
“We need to pay attention to what the Native and Indigenous people say,” Horrigan said.
It would be difficult to list all of the wrongs Columbus committed against Indigenous Peoples’ in what is now America and the Caribbean, but he enslaved hundreds of thousands, oversaw sex slavery of young women, and killed slaves who attempted to escape. There is no justifiable reason that Christopher Columbus deserves a National Holiday in his honor.
Four U.S. states and 55 cities have already recognized this, changing Columbus day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It is time that this Nation recognize the sacrifices Natives have made and the injustices they have experienced. We have to make a stand and show the true character of the American People, and recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on a Federal level.

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