Columbus Day vs. Indigenous Peoples' Day

History is complicated because people are complicated. Rarely will you find anyone who operates with only one motive, and often not all of those motives are pure. Yet leftists want to condemn Christopher Columbus and the holiday that bears his name because he wasn’t a perfect saint. To replace this evil colonizer, they want to celebrate the indigenous peoples who enslaved each other, offered human sacrifice, engaged in cannibalism, and committed genocide because … well, shut up, they explained.

Cristofor Colombo was born in Genoa in 1451. He eventually discovered what Europeans would come to call the New World. Because of the Muslim takeover of the eastern Mediterranean, he set out to find a western way to India. He also sought gold, in large part to fund Christian evangelism and the reconquest of Jerusalem. On a voyage to what he thought would be India, he instead landed in the Bahamas. Later journeys took him to South America. The known world suddenly became much larger, and the Western value of courageous exploration took root. On the other hand, Columbus’s men and subsequent explorers also committed atrocities and brought disease. Obviously, his discovery wasn’t an unmarred good — little in history ever is.

Still, until recent years, the only real controversy about celebrating the 1492 landing of Columbus and his three ships in the Caribbean was that a viking named Lief Erickson discovered Newfoundland a few hundred years before him. Then the “progressive” historical iconoclasts came along and insisted that Columbus was a racist who brought only death to peaceful natives.

Dozens of cities have canceled Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Schools and other places are removing any branding associated with Columbus. Monuments to the explorer have been vandalized in recent years.

Ironically, history repeats itself: A century ago, the Ku Klux Klan behaved likewise due to anti-Italian sentiments. Klan radicals tore down statues and even lynched Italian Americans. One particular lynching incident was the impetus for recognizing Columbus, in fact, as a way to be more welcoming to immigrants.

In 2021, Joe Biden became the first president to issue a proclamation naming today Indigenous Peoples’ Day. He has repeated the practice every year since. “We must never forget,” he said, “the centuries-long campaign of violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror wrought upon Native communities and Tribal Nations throughout our country.”

Violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror wrought by other Native communities and Tribal Nations, he forgot to add. Another forgotten bit is noted by professor Jeff Fynn-Paul is his book, Not Stolen: The Truth About European Colonialism in the New World: “Indians enslaved far more Indians than Europeans ever did. It is likely that more Africans were enslaved by Indians in the New World, than Indians by Europeans.” Well that’s inconvenient.

Subsequent presidential proclamations likewise don’t mention the full history of indigenous peoples, focusing only on their purity and their victimization at the hands of the white man. Leftists more generally honor indigenous peoples without saying anything bad about them, but they can’t acknowledge Columbus without saying only the worst things about him.

Additionally, the hip new thing is to spread the myth that we live on “stolen land.” We’re supposed to believe that only the Europeans stole the land, not the natives who had been taking it from each other for centuries prior.

Meanwhile, there is the noxious leftist idea that assimilation is no different than terror, and the “progressive” dogma that there is no forgiveness, only perpetual guilt. President “Unity” carries that “progress” forward by only dividing Americans with political pandering.

A far better presidential model was Ronald Reagan, who once said of the Italian explorer: “Columbus is justly admired as a brilliant navigator, a fearless man of action, a visionary who opened the eyes of an older world to an entirely new one. Above all, he personifies a view of the world that many see as quintessentially American: not merely optimistic, but scornful of the very notion of despair.”

Patriots should help the next generation of Americans learn that history.

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