I am surprised nobody has said anything about it. Possibly one of the greatest debates of today (literally) is what Americans should be celebrating. Should Americans celebrate Columbus Day, Indigenous People’s Day, Leif Erikson Day, or some combination of the three?
Columbus Day is formally a celebration of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Because Columbus was from Genoa (although he sailed for Spain), some Italian-Americans choose this day to celebrate their Italian heritage. It has been a federal holiday since 1971, and was previously recognized by annual Presidential proclamations since the 1930s.
Indigenous People’s Day is a celebration of Native American peoples and culture, created on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival (1992) as a counter to Columbus Day. On Friday President Biden issued a proclamation recognizing today as Indigenous People’s Day.
Leif Erikson Day is a celebration of Nordic culture and heritage, particularly the 11th century explorer Leif Erikson, who led what is thought to be the first Europeans to set foot on North America (specifically, Newfoundland). The date of October 9 coincides with the docking of an unrelated nineteenth century ship full of immigrants from Norway, possibly to compete with the Columbus Day movement. Leif Erikson Day has been celebrated in various localities, and is recognized by annual Presidential proclamations in the U.S.
(Coincidentally, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. But Canadian Thanksgiving doesn’t honor any particular person, culture, or ethnic group.)
Some old topics
Columbus Day - 2000, Great Debates
The Vinland Map-Is It a fake? - 2021 bump of 2002 topic, Great Debates
When did Columbus Day turn into Italian-American heritage day? - 2009, General Questions