Don't celebrate Columbus Day
Ric Holt, as an SOU professor and award-winning author, should know better than to gloss over the whole truth with cherry-picked, romanticized intellectualism.
Any novice investigator with a minimum amount of research can find historical documents, including Columbus's own diary, that prove the intentions and actions of Columbus.
What Ric Holt's letter is willfully ignorant to is the documented fact of Columbus participating in and/or overseeing the vicious murder, rape, torture and enslavement of the indigenous Taino people of what is now Puerto Rico.
Columbus Day is the celebration of the "discovery" of the Americas. How do you discover continents that are already occupied by tens of millions of people, with diverse cultures and more languages than Europe at that time? The seemingly endless contributions of Native American culture and lifeways to the world are far too great to list here.
The landing of Columbus on indigenous shores represents the beginning of one of, if not the biggest, multigenerational genocides in human history. To quote famed Native American artist, poet, spokesperson and activist John Trudell, "asking native people to celebrate Columbus Day is like asking people of the U.S. to celebrate Osama bin Laden day."
So no, do not celebrate Columbus Day. Replacing it with Indigenous People's Day is long overdue and represents one small but significant step in the process of reversing 500 years of racism, oppression and exploitation. Let us recognize and celebrate the beauty and resilience of Native American culture this coming October, we will be a better community and world for it.
Shane E. Smith