Editorial: Indigenous Peoples Day a worthwhile, important holiday

Staff Editorial

Monday was Columbus Day to many, but to many others across the country, Monday marked Indigenous Peoples Day.

Fourteen states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 cities officially recognize Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day, according to USA Today.

We at The Daily Eastern News believe that we should celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day as a nation in place of Columbus Day.

We understand that many people in the Italian American community recognize Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage and one of their nation’s most famous explorers.

But as we have learned more about Columbus’ legacy over the years, it feels increasingly inappropriate to celebrate that legacy.

Columbus enslaved and decimated populations throughout his travels in the Americas and Caribbean and set the precedent for other nations to send over colonizers to “conquer” the Americas.

But Columbus did not “discover” America. He simply landed in a place that was home to millions of people.

There were thriving societies and many diverse tribes with their own cultures and traditions.

As America struggles right now with racial unrest, it is important to recognize just how much of our history is steeped in white supremacy and racism.

Going back through police violence, segregation and slavery, America’s history with racism began at the very  beginning when Columbus first stepped off his ship.

Honoring indigenous people is something that should be a widespread practice, and instead choosing to celebrate a man who led to their downfall is disrespectful.

There are many other Italian-American figures we can honor instead of Columbus, because all Americans deserve better.