Columbus Day v Indigenous People's Day v Leif Erikson Day

But Max appears to me not only to be saying that, but to be strongly recommending that it continue.

I sure as hell don’t.

If given half a chance, they’d cheerfully murder me, all of my family, and a lot of my friends; probably raping some of us first.

Max, if what you’re trying to say is that Americans should be taught about the evils in our history as well as the good things: that I’ll agree with. But that’s not remotely the same thing as saying we should all be taught to identify with the Conquistadors!

Wouldn’t Indigenous People’s Day, focusing on the people who’s ancestors lived on this land for generations, be much better at this than Columbus Day? You say you want to own your identity with the colonizers but you weren’t even aware of NA civilizations in existence today that predate Columbus. Why would you want to focus a holiday on the colonizers when you know so little about the colonized? Own your identity by learning about NAs rather than celebrating their near extinction.

That does not sound very good to me. European history would just be white people history. Why in the world should Native history not count for just as much? I mean, the Iroquois Confederacy’s Great Law of Peace was a template for our own Constitution!

Natives are just as much a part of America as those of us with European ancestry. As are people of Asian or African ancestry. Heck, we’re all pretty much a mixture at some point in our family tree.

Columbus was a horrible person even in his day. His contemporaries refer to him as cruel. The only reason he ever got a national holiday was to appease Italian Americans after they held a strike over lynchings.

That’s the only thing that gives me pause about Indigenous People’s Day at this point. I’m past the point of thinking we should celebrate the colonization of the Americas, even without Columbus as the head. But there should be a holiday celebrating Italian Americans.

That said, are they that wedded to celebrating it on the second Monday in October? Indigenous People’s Day has a lot of traction. I’m quite surprised you hadn’t heard of it until this year.

So, for example imagine your average American being told about the nascent Connecticut militia trapping and burning an entire village in the Pequot war. Or perhaps of de Soto’s razing of Tuscaloosa. He or she is asked, as a nation, were we the militia or the villagers? The conquistadors or the tribespeople? Which side of history is our country on, which side do we identify as our own? It has nothing to do with who would murder who today.


Perhaps not, but don’t you think it’s important to know about those events in your country’s history – in particular, if you feel that, due to your heritage and ancestry, you identify more with the European colonizers/conquerers than you identify with the indigenous people?

It seems to me that we have a serious issue in this country now, in which many Americans of European descent are not only unaware of horrible things that were done in the name of establishing and expanding what became the United States in the past, but because they are of a mind that “America is always on the right side,” they’re unwilling to have to confront those past events, and label the re-evaluation of figures like Columbus “cancel culture.”

Edit: also…

Why does the answer to that question need to be one, or the other? If you are an American, you should consider that maybe the answer is “both.”

I didn’t twist those words out of you. Those are your words. I asked questions that might encourage you to connect the dots of what you’re saying, but you kept doubling down. I’ll be perfectly clear, in what you wrote above, you made the white supremacist case for keeping Columbus day.

I have noticed you have a habit of treating painful, emotional topics as some sort of intellectual parlor game, in spite of not having skin in said game, in spite of having little knowledge of the topic. In that light, it’s very possible you’re sincerely oblivious to how offensive you’re coming off here. But it’s far from clear that this is the case.

I’ll be perfectly blunt here. 40% of the nation aren’t descendants of the perpetrators of genocide. It’s grossly offensive that you demand that those people identify with people who murdered their ancestors. I cannot possibly imagine how someone would honestly and sincerely be unaware of this fact.

It’s not possible to do that properly without teaching about Tuscaloosa (who was a person) and the Pequot (who still exist.) Teaching only about the murderers and leaving the idea that the only thing their victims did was get killed produces massive misrepresentation of the situation then and now.

And, as @kenobi_65 said: the history of this country is the history of all sides, the history of all who live and lived here. Not the history of one group, with others mentioned only as their victims.

And what @HMS_Irruncible said.

How does this square with

Why would you then, as a modern, presumably empathetic human, choose to identify with the oppressors who are unrelated to you in any meaningful way?

I’m not saying you have to identify with the victims, BTW. You can, in fact, choose not to identify with either group.

This is very strongly implying Native Americans aren’t really Americans.

Funnily enough my Band starts their history 500 years ago. Something about the new neighbors sucking.

“About 500 years ago, as Europeans began settling in North America, the ancestors of the Mille Lacs Band began migrating west from the Atlantic coast of North America to the place “where the food grows on water.” By the mid-1700s, the Ojibwe had established themselves in the region around Mille Lacs Lake in what is today East Central Minnesota. For the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the move marked the beginning of a 250-year relationship with the region.”

I want to clarify, I knew the Ute, Nez Perce, and Six Nations existed, plus a little bit about each. I did not until this discussion know that they had existed as far back as the fifteenth century.

You make a good point, and I wouldn’t have much of a problem if the proposition was not to replace Columbus Day. Before Columbus Day caught on in the late nineteenth century, it is my understanding that Americans generally didn’t know the man existed or particularly care about the year 1492. And I suspect, without the annual reminder, that year and its significance will be relegated again to obscure trivia questions in the category of Fourth Grade History. An Indigenous People’s Day would probably not focus too much on the colonization of the continent by Europeans (and the resulting deaths of 95% of the indigenous peoples). I will re-read the topic but I don’t see why the holiday would focus on that rather than surviving traditions and more recent history from the nineteenth century on.

That leaves Thanksgiving and Independence Day to remind us that European colonists are a core part of our national heritage. I rather like the rather civic religion aspect of (American) Thanksgiving, what with the focus shifted more towards giving thanks, togetherness, harvests, football, and parades than European colonists or Native Americans. Replacing Thanksgiving with Pilgrim’s Day or Indigenous People’s Day is, to me, a nonstarter. And (U.S.) Independence Day has never been so much about embracing European colonial heritage as it has breaking free from Europe.


Well, that and 99% of the rest of the history covered in the US.

My point was that it would fade after one leaves school. What other reminders did you have in mind?

I don’t think your average American teaches social sciences or has a penchant for history.


Not to be blunt, you you appear to be ignoring the fact that nearly all of history studied in schools in the US are centered around white men of European ancestory. There is no need for a White History month because nearly all of history is white. Columbus Day is a minor holiday, Columbus himself had very little to do with what eventually because the United States.

What does Columbus Day contribute to the recognition of European heritage? He was an Italian, sailing under the flag of Spain, neither of which played a significant role in the foundation of the United States. How do you celebrate Columbus Day anyway? It’s not a holiday with an education component. It has few rituals, and fewer meaningful historic context. Why do you feel it is important?

The numbers, man! Lazy Google search:

Number of Americans with Native American ancestry: <2% of population
Number of Americans with European ancestry: >70% of population
Number of Americans with African ancestry: <15% of population
Number of Americans with Asian ancestry: <8% of population

An American with Native American ancestry is just as much of an American as one with European ancestry. But Americans with Native American ancestry do not constitute a comparable part of America, so far as population goes. A more fair comparison might involve people of the Muslim faith. In terms of the absolute number of people who might possibly identify with a culture, it makes more sense to celebrate Chinese New Year, which is absurd.

Not where I live. I am not aware of any local, county, or even regional Native American association (although I have not actively sought one out, and I am sure there is one or two). The two tribes in this state are way down from me, maybe a 150+ mile drive for one and 280+ miles for the other. (I have never been.)


Well, maybe. Most think Cabot knew of Columbus’s voyages.

Otoh, the American continents were going to be found by 15th or maybe early 16th century Europeans anyway, Columbus or no.

Many think fishermen were already quite aware, but had kept that a secret.

The Norse are the only ones we know that got here, built a settlement, and got back to tell the tale.

Yes, I do think it is important to know about the tragic history of Native Americans. But I don’t see how an Indigenous People’s Day holiday will particularly work toward that end; certainly not any better than Columbus Day which - due to its controversy - is already accompanied by occasional critical thinking about his legacy.

Re-evaluation isn’t cancelling, it’s just a kind of thought. (???)

Unlike the civil war, I disagree. An individual may identify with both sides of a colonist<=>Native American conflict, but that would be because the individual identifies as both American and Native American. I would think around 98% of the country would not identify as the Native Americans under any circumstance, because less than 2% of our population has Native American ancestry.


Do you seriously think we’re in danger of forgetting that?

If what people learn in history class fades after they leave school (and indeed in most cases it does, along with anything they don’t routinely use that they learned in math class, the details of most of the books they read on whatever subject, etc.): that is indeed in some ways a problem, because it may affect how they vote. But it’s a general problem. Why do you think it’s a problem specifically if people forget about Columbus, or forget the specific date of his getting lost?

Do you seriously think that nobody can identify with anyone they’re not directly descended from?

And Native Americans are American. “Identifies as both American and Native American” is either terrible phrasing, or indicative of a whole lot of (possibly unconscious) prejudice. Especially combined with assuming that everybody who’s American can or should identify with Columbus!

The only ones we currently have proof of. They may, of course, have been the only ones who did; but bear in mind that their presence was considered a fringe off-the-wall theory until quite recently, and also that many tales that have been told at some point in the world have been lost entirely.

I am aware that such a demand could be offensive, but I think it is an unavoidable consequence for those individuals whose heritage (or in the case of Native American tribes, citizenship!) extends to both sides of a historical conflict. At a weaker level one should identify with all people and even all life - hence why I may be ashamed that the human race has produced men like Hitler, yet still respect a the life of a gecko lizard who has inconsiderately invaded my kitchen. Part the national identity of the United States is a collective responsibility or pride for our acts or non-actions: past, present, and future; de-jure and de-facto; and of our national precursors and successors.

My opinion is that conquistadors and colonists are closer to the United States’ national identity than the Six Nations, the Cherokee, or any other indigenous people.

I connected the dots. They do connect, I cautiously admit. What doesn’t connect in my mind, is “white supremacist”, as here carefully defined, therefore “wrong”.

For full disclosure, I don’t have any “skin in the game” on this subject. I am neither Italian nor Native American. I do in fact treat the subject like an intellectual parlor game and that is one of the primary motivations for my participation. These circumstances could reasonably be considered offensive. The polite thing to do, if I did not think that particular motivation matched this particular forum, would be to simply not discuss the subject at all - so as to avoid unnecessarily offending people.

That being said, I do not enjoy offending people and will cease discussion in this topic upon direct request.