Original. Student reported. Your daily dose of Right-minded news and commentary from across the nation
Students Vote to Rename Columbus Day ‘Indigenous People’s Day’

The student government at Arizona State University has voted to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People Day. The Tempe Undergraduate Student Government Senate passed Bill 44 to rename the holiday after contentious debate on campus.

Christopher Columbus has long been known as an admirable adventurer in American lore whose adventurous spirit led him to “discover” America. But, in recent years his legacy has faced mounting criticism for the perceived negative effects his life had on Native Americans.

In the United States, Columbus Day is an official federal holiday. However, not all states recognize the day. South Dakota, instead, celebrates Native American Day. The name “Indigenous People Day” originated in Berkley, California, a city that began celebrating the holiday as an alternative to Columbus Day in 1992.

In Tempe, students were split on the issue. Those in support of the change believed that the bill was a positive way to commemorate the Native Americans whose lives they say were lost as a result of Columbus’s arrival to the New World. The opposition said the bill was an example of unnecessary political correctness. There was also another group that preferred that the campus do away with celebrating the day for either cause.

Many admirers of Columbus view him as a symbol of exploration, perseverance, innovation and the beginning of the American spirit. However, critics of the famous explorer paint a darker picture of the man, and more broadly, of European settlement of the New World that he represents. They often cite, for example, the diseases carried by European explorers like Columbus and his men, which caused the deaths of many Native Americans.

An editorial in The State Press, a campus student newspaper, praised the intent behind the name change. “When we recognize the holiday as Columbus’ Day, we already remember the person who launched the trajectory that left Native Americans in the state they are today — living on reservations where they suffer from the lowest rates of education and health care in the country.”

However, Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity questions the rationale behind the name change. “There’s nothing wrong with celebrating Native America — as a heritage, not a race, since the principle of E pluribus unum means that we shouldn’t be singling out particular races for celebration,“ he said. “And there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the heroic explorers of America either.”

“We should be able to celebrate both without denigrating either. The juxtaposition in replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People Day, on the other hand, is a silly anti-Western statement and a celebration of fashionable victimhood,” Clegg added.

Bill 44 has been passed in Tempe, but Columbus, his legacy and his holiday remain controversial subjects. It is clear that Columbus’s complicated legacy will continue to inspire controversy for a long time to come.

Fix Contributor Blake Baxter is a student at Eureka College.

Click here to Like The College Fix on Facebook.

Add to the Discussion

  • When Columbus discovered Hispaniola (modern day Cuba) and encountered the natives there, he explained how they have “perfectly formed bodies with beautiful faces”. And to convert them is “by love, not by force”. So yeah, he is not really the bad guy the left makes me out to be. But of course that is not going to stop them….

  • Chapmac

    politically correct revisionism and america hatred need to be stopped eventually, preferably with a firm “no”to the latest regurgitation from the bottomless swamp of progressive ignorance, even if the poor dear’s feelings get bruised in the process. Why not start with the war on Columbus, the stupidest lefty idea since the war on Christmas.

    • CQ

      The war on Columbus is a lot older than the war on Christmas – for at least 30 years now. I am not at all surprised that the name change originated in Berkeley.

  • CQ

    What did “indigenous people” discover that is worth commemorating? Did they travel east and make contact with Europeans or Africans, or do something else that hadn’t been done before? Whether Columbus did it or someone else, expansion west from Europe was bound to happen. If the students are fretting about the spread of disease, at the very least they have to admit that it wasn’t done deliberately.

    • They were too busy eating bugs to bother wtih exploration.

    • Chapmac

      But they won’t. The Ward Churchill crazies have adopted the legend of smallpox infected blankets as an article of the faith. its convenient-and therefore proven by consensus.

  • good thing he didn’t teach them how to scalp or have the squaws torture their prisoners.
    oh wait…they already did that..

  • Wow, talk about anti-science.

    Not one human being in the western hemisphere isn’t an immigrant, including all the savages

  • Stupid college kids. Native Americans were a technologically inferior race. If it wasn’t the Europeans someone else would have come over eventually and taken over. Read a little more on Columbus and you will get a fresh view .

  • MA Jack

    One word: IDIOTS. You’re wasting your parents money on college.

  • Proving once again that so many college students have nothing better to do…GET OVER IT and enjoy a day off!!

  • Okay, college kids would do anything to look ‘hip’ and feel good. How is it ‘hip’ to hate your own race? How could that possibly make you feel good?

  • RHG

    Once again proving that PC Nazi’s are now in control of American college campuses.

  • If these students feel bad about the impact of Columbus’ arrival on the natives, they can always give their houses to Native American families. This is typical slacktivism that plagues the younger set these days – they want to be seen as compassionate and having certain values, but are not willing to actually sacrifice anything.