BY WALTER CANADY III
Every year the United States celebrates Columbus day on Oct. 9. For most of us, it was just a day off from school, was as in past tense. A day that ISD and many other school districts have decided not to represent anymore. It was a day to celebrate Christopher Columbus, the man who found ‘America’ but most importantly started it all with the Natives.
“Indigenous Peoples Day” is a fairly new holiday that reconfigures Columbus Day and turns a celebration of colonialism into an opportunity to unveil historical truths about the genocide and systematic oppression of indigenous peoples in the Americas. For me personally, I can say coming up in school, Christopher Columbus was made especifically fundamental through late elementary, maybe even in middle school. When learning about the beginnings of America, we had to make sure we understood
“Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492”.
The idea of the switch in the two holidays was being pushed in about 1977 by a delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations. And this year, according to fox4kc.com KCMO officially declared October 9th as Indigenous People’s Day.
Since Independence is a suburb of Kansas City, they usually follow suit with what they are doing however, the change in the holiday has found a way to split both followers and unfollowers down the middle. Some believe that the day should be a day off from school so that people who are involved in the NAtive parts of the city and ever the native heritage can have a day to themselves, however the other half would argue that it is okay to not have the day off from school but instead incorporate the history into that day’s learning. All in all the day is important, it is the beginning of who we are today so it is understandable how it has become a heated topic.
Now that it has been changed to Indigenous Peoples day I wonder if there will be the same type of effort to push the education of the native people. I feel like this is especially important to be done because most of their history was assimilated, and or acculturated. It is things like not even bothering to mention anything about Black History Month in schools that upsets the community.
Which is amazing because we have a world history, but not a true American History, that explains not only our cliche topics but rather an American history class that gears to the native people that were the original Americans and what they did. As well as the Africans that would help to cultivate this country into what it is now and all this should be discussed and appreciated beyond just the oppression, slavery and struggles, these set of indigenous people went through. The glory and time of triumph of them should be educated, especially in the times created to do so. Hopefully with this holiday being accepted by KCMO, we will see an increase of the knowledge of the native peoples in our education system.