Opinion: Moving beyond the legacy of Columbus
"Every year when Columbus Day rolls around I ponder its existence and meaning. I used to take great offense at its observance in the American calendar. Yet over the past few years, and especially after Monday's event "The Legacy of Columbus: Indigenous Perspectives," I have come to appreciate the day. As with many things in this world, there are often two sides to things. I had only seen Columbus Day as an opportunity for celebration by a subset of Euro-Americans who lacked knowledge of my side of the Columbus story. Indeed, I saw it as insulting that a man I saw as a symbol of tremendous death and destruction should be revered in such a way.

In Hispaniola alone, the firsthand account of Bartolome de Las Casas, Columbus' journal transcriber, records that from 1494 to 1508 over 3 million people died from the war, slavery, and mines that Columbus brought to the island. I saw the day as a day of mourning and remembrance for those millions upon millions who had died in a genocidal process. Germany would never do such a thing with Hitler and his legacy.

Then I reached a point where in defiance I rejected Columbus Day. Many tribes have taken this path by reclaiming the day as Native American Heritage Day. I used to think this was fantastic, but this approach denies the fullness of the day's potential. I now value the day as an opportunity to really think about Columbus and both sides of his story."

Get the Story:
Ethel Branch: Moving Beyond the Legacy of Columbus (The Harvard Law School Record 10/12)

Another Opinion:
Jules Molenda: Columbus deserves to be remembered for what he did (The Lake Sun Leader 10/12)

Relevant Links:
Transform Columbus Day - http://www.transformcolumbusday.org

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