As a kid in Trinidad, the first time I heard the idea of Columbus “discovering” the Americas challenged was by my Caribbean History teacher Askia Amon Rah! Decades later, I will come to appreciate the magnitude and the significance of what he was trying to teach us!
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that honours and memorialises the shared history and experience of Indigenous Peoples’ on the second Monday in October. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is part of a campaign to acknowledge the atrocities Columbus perpetrated and questions the idea that Columbus “discovered” America, while also highlighting the history and participation of Native peoples.
The holiday began in 1989 in South Dakota, where Lynn Hart and Governor Mickelson supported a resolution to commemorate Native American day on the second Monday of October, marking the beginning of the year of reconciliation in 1990.
Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937, in part because of efforts by Roman Catholic Italian Americans. During the late 19th and early 20th century, members of this stigmatised ethnic and religious group successfully lobbied to establish Columbus Day to place Catholic Italians, like Christopher Columbus, into American history.