There have been recent discussions regarding Christopher Columbus and the celebration of a day in his honor.
Columbus Day was established in 1937 by President Roosevelt to acknowledge his being the first European to discover the “New World.”
There are some organizations that want to change (or have changed) Columbus Day to Indigenous People Day. That change leaves me somewhat confused.
Columbus’ voyages were to areas that are now the Caribbean, Central and South America. Columbus did make it to what is Cuba and the Bahamas. So, since Columbus never made it to North America, and more specifically the Continental United States, what indigenous people are we supposed to celebrate?
The indigenous people of the Caribbean are believed to have migrated from Central America and South America. These people who migrated to Central and South America were believed to have done that by boat, and not necessarily by migration through North America.
Recent DNA evidence has determined that the people who settled in North, Central and South America originated in the same area in Northern Asia (Siberia). Regardless, given the probability that these peoples’ migration south took multiple paths, are the indigenous people of the Caribbean the same people that are commonly referred to as the indigenous people of North America?
If we in the United States are to celebrate Indigenous People Day in place of Columbus Day, who are we to celebrate? Maybe retaining Columbus and adding a separate USA Indigenous Peoples Day is the right solution.