Opinion: The necessary change to Indigenous People’s Day


Zoe Long, Editor/Writer

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer and navigator who has been celebrated and credited for his accomplishment of the “finding of America”. This could not be farther from the truth in many different respects. First being that Columbus landed in a group of islands that is now the Bahamas, technically not the actual large land masses of North and South America. Second being that the Taino people were already inhabiting these islands, so the idea that he was the first people to find these lands does not add up. And lastly being that what he did when he encountered the Native Americans, makes him completely unworthy of this title, at least in many people’s opinion. 

Columbus has had a holiday dedicated to him since 1934. Indigenous Peoples Day began to be celebrated in place of it 40 years later, although not made a national holiday or being recognized by the government in any large capacity. Although that was only until recently. A fews days before Columbus Day rolled around this year, President Biden issued a proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day. It will be celebrated on October 11th, along with Columbus Day. 

One of the most beautiful parts of the proclamation is when President Biden said: “On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor America’s first inhabitants and the Tribal Nations that continue to thrive today.  I encourage everyone to celebrate and recognize the many Indigenous communities and cultures that make up our great country”. The recognition and appreciation that the President expresses in these few sentences is very monumental, as this is the very first presidential proclamation about Indigenous Peoples Day. This respect needs to continue, and should have shown up long ago. It should not have taken nearly a century for “America’s first inhabitants” to get their well-deserved holiday.