Goodbye, Columbus

We have said it all along and the momentum is picking up! 

Earlier this month, a committee of the Los Angeles City Council backed a plan to reframe Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day, following the lead of Berkeley, Denver, Phoenix and the state of Vermont. The proposal now goes to the full council. It should vote yes, and the sooner the better. Giving Columbus Day a reset would represent a necessary reckoning with the nuances of American identity and history.

Columbus, after all, did not discover America, any more than Amerigo Vespucci or Sir Francis Drake did. It was here all along, home to a wide array of cultures and civilizations. The Taos Pueblo, in New Mexico, was founded more than 1,000 years ago — that is, about 500 years before Columbus “found” his first Caribbean island. Along with Acoma Pueblo, Taos is cited as the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the United States.


Native tribes were virtually enslaved in Spanish colonial Alta California. Mexican rule was slightly better, but it gave way to Anglo encroachment that culminated in the independent Bear Flag Republic, which lasted just 25 days before the “revolutionaries” joined John C. Fremont’s California Battalion. Four years later, California was a state.

At least 14 communities in the United States have passed measures designating the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples Day.

And NOT just in America!

Even in the Spain, where the monarchy sponsored Columbus’ voyage, people are rethinking his legacy.
A group of left-wing city council members in Barcelona called for the city to remove a 196-foot statue of Christopher Columbus in one of its most heavily trafficked intersections as part of a proposal to strike the October 12 national holiday and return it to a regular working day.
Council member María José Lecha González said public commemoration of Columbus glorifies colonialism and imperialism, and called the holiday a “mockery” of the genocide of the indigenous population.
The proposal failed to garner enough votes to pass after being submitted to the Barcelona city council in September. But González said that simply raising the issue was an important step.
“For a week, this proposal and these matters and the questions [they] raised, have been in the media, and they have been on the streets, and they reached many other places that they hadn’t reached before.”