Good Guy or Bad Guy?
“Columbus Day Controversy”, written by Nanette Croce, is a non-aboriginal perspective on the controversy concerning whether or not Columbus Day should be celebrated. The articles states that many Native American decedents and their supporters believe that by celebrating Columbus Day, the entire country is joining in celebrating the genocide of millions of native people in North and South America. An annual Columbus Day celebrations started in Colorado as a period of hope for Italian-Americans. The author argues that while she sees how the Native Americans could be offended, the celebrations aren’t about Columbus. He is merely a symbol to the Italian-American community showing Italy’s past accomplishments.
Though the article is more about the significance of Columbus Day to Italian-Americans, I can concur that Christopher Columbus was more bad then good. The article states that “it was not my peoples’ finest hour”. The author believes such as Italian-Americans have Columbus Day, the natives Americans deserve a national holiday for a Native American hero because in reality the Natives were here years before Columbus stumbled upon Hispaniola.
In conclusion, I do not believe Columbus deserves a city, much less a whole day of celebration. If I had lived in his time, his actions still wouldn’t have been morally acceptable. Columbus has been given too much credit, especially because not only was he looking for Asia but there were natives living there for years before Columbus got there. I believe, even with his immoral actions, Columbus Day will still be celebrated because of his significance.
Columbus Day Should Not Be Celebrated
Every year, on the second Monday in October, the people in the United States celebrate a national holiday in memory of Christopher Columbus, the one who discovered the new continent. However, because Columbus brought disasters to the Native Americans, many people opposed the Columbus celebrations. They began to think whether the Columbus Day should be considered as a national holiday in the United States. Certainly, Columbus Day should not be a national holiday in the United States. First of all, it was very obvious that Columbus caused the European colonization in the Americas and the indigenous population collapse. His crime obscured his contribution. A criminal whose hands stained with blood should not be commemorated by people.
Though some of the consequences are not expected by Columbus, his expeditions marked a very bad beginning of the European explorations. On Columbus’s second voyage, his evil desires were completely exposed. The indigenous people finally understood Columbus’s purpose which was to seize treasures from their lands. When Columbus’s fleet reached the island of Guadeloupe, they encountered the warlike Caribs and were attacked. The Spaniards finally defeated the Caribs and enslaved them. These slaves died out quickly because of the European diseases. Few months later, the tragic story of the Caribs had happened repeatedly on the Arawaks of Hispaniola (Konstam, “Across the Ocean.”) Originally, those lands were possessed by these indigenous people. If some intruders were discovered by them, it was absolutely reasonable for them to drive those intruders away. But as Columbus set his feet on the land of Americas, the disasters were brought to the Native Americans.
Such a criminal person should not be acclaimed as a hero. Columbus was a villain who was too criminal to be commemorated. Another reason is that the U.S. Government should be respectful to the Native Americans who live in the United States. They are also U.S. citizens. Columbus was a hero from the European perspective but a villain from Indians’ perspective. If the government still recognizes Columbus Day as a national holiday, it is very disrespectful and insulting to both its citizens and a group of people. After Columbus’s discovery of the Americas, the native people were enslaved and forced to harvest gold in their homelands. Wars also broke out between the Spaniards and Indians. In a few years, over one hundred thousand Indians died (Solomon, “Columbus Day.”)
Thus, the Indians have a profound hatred of Columbus. As members of the government, the officials should view these historical events in perspective, and treat all the people equally. If the government still treats this controversial figure as a hero, it is the same as they agree with Columbus. This is definitely insulting to the native people. It is too disrespectful to them to celebrate for Columbus Day (“Goodbye Columbus.”) Many people think that Columbus is great because of his discovery of the Americas. However, Columbus’s historical role was not irreplaceable. Christopher Columbus was just a normal one among the European explorers. If Christopher Columbus never existed on the world, another Columbus would also discover the new world eventually. He achieved fame because he lives in an appropriate time period. Before his voyage, the Vikings had already been to the Northeastern of North America and built settlements there (“Leif Erikson.”) Therefore, Columbus was not the first European who discovered the Americas. Furthermore, Columbus did not realize that he discovered a new continent. Instead, Amerigo Vespucci, another Italian explorer, first realized that the land Columbus discovered was a new continent and not a part of Asia.
Thus, the new continent was named after Amerigo (“Christopher Columbus.”) Columbus was neither the first one who discovered the Americas, nor the first one who realized the existence of a new continent. So he was just a normal explorer like the later conquistadors who traveled across the Atlantic to seize treasures. It is not necessary to commemorate such an explorer who did not really make many positive contributions. Columbus, a man of evil desires, gave the Indians painful memories but achieved fame around the world. His voyage opened the prelude of destruction of the Native Americans. Such person does not deserve people’s commemoration. It is evil, disrespectful, and insulting to the Indians to celebrate for Columbus. Thus, the United States should not consider Columbus Day as a national holiday.
“Christopher Columbus.” Explorers & Discoverers of the World. Gale, 1993. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. “Goodbye Columbus!.” Indians.org. Rocky Mountain News, 1994. Web. 30 Sep. 2012. Konstam, Angus, et al. “Across the Ocean Sea – Christopher Columbus.” Historical Atlas of Exploration. Checkmark Books, 2000. 46-55. Print. 30 Sep. 2012 “Leif Erikson (11th Century).” BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. Solomon, Norman. “Columbus Day — A Clash of Myth and History.” AlterNet.org. AlterNet, 2000. Web. 30 Sep. 2012.