In 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived in the Carribean islands, near the modern-day United States. While his arrival to the modern-day Americas has been celebrated by white Americans for many years, Columbus and the explorers, conquistadors, and colonizers who came after him brought immense suffering unto the Indigenous peoples who lived on this land before European people arrived.
There is a misconception that to acknowledge that Columbus and the explorers who came after him committed atrocities against Indigenous peoples, including human trafficking, rape, and genocide, is to express deep hatred of the United States. On the contrary, if we aspire to make our country truly great we must reckon honestly with our history, including the harm perpetuated by those who came before us. There is a saying that goes, “Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.” If we do not teach our country’s history and include the transgressions of our ancestors, we risk repeating their abuse.
I encourage you to call for Columbus Day to be renamed Indigenous Peoples’ day. I also urge you to publicly dismiss the notion that to teach our country’s history honestly is to express hatred of our country and to express support of inclusive and anti-racist education.