Opinion: Moving beyond the legacy of Columbus

"Every year when Columbus Day rolls around I ponder its existence and meaning. I used to take great offense at its observance in the American calendar. Yet over the past few years, and especially after Monday's event "The Legacy of Columbus: Indigenous Perspectives," I have come to appreciate the day. As with many things in this world, there are often two sides to things. I had only seen Columbus Day as an opportunity for celebration by a subset of Euro-Americans who lacked knowledge of my side of the Columbus story. Indeed, I saw it as insulting that a man I saw as a symbol of tremendous death and destruction should be revered in such a way.

In Hispaniola alone, the firsthand account of Bartolome de Las Casas, Columbus' journal transcriber, records that from 1494 to 1508 over 3 million people died from the war, slavery, and mines that Columbus brought to the island. I saw the day as a day of mourning and remembrance for those millions upon millions who had died in a genocidal process. Germany would never do such a thing with Hitler and his legacy.

Then I reached a point where in defiance I rejected Columbus Day. Many tribes have taken this path by reclaiming the day as Native American Heritage Day. I used to think this was fantastic, but this approach denies the fullness of the day's potential. I now value the day as an opportunity to really think about Columbus and both sides of his story."

Get the Story:
Ethel Branch: Moving Beyond the Legacy of Columbus (The Harvard Law School Record 10/12)

Another Opinion:
Jules Molenda: Columbus deserves to be remembered for what he did (The Lake Sun Leader 10/12)

Relevant Links:
Transform Columbus Day - http://www.transformcolumbusday.org

Related Stories:
Haskell students march against Columbus Day (10/9)
Hundreds protest Columbus Day parade in Denver (10/8)
Bad Eagle: Columbus one of greatest men in history (10/8)
Opinion: Why Natives must reject Columbus Day (10/5)
Column: AIM outdoes itself on Columbus Day again (10/3)
Editorial: Another Columbus Day parade upon us (10/1)
Haskell students lead Columbus Day protest (10/10)
Opinion: Celebrating Colmbus condones genocide (10/9)
Protest planned for Columbus Day parade in Denver (10/3)
Debate: Transform Columbus Day or treasure it? (9/28)
Column: Bad Eagle supports Columbus Day parade (9/27)
Comanche man to perform at NMAI despite critique (9/26)
Scalia leads Columbus Day parade in New York (10/11)
Columbus Day parade, protest turn out peaceful (10/10)
Another Columbus Day parade and protest in Denver (10/7)
Colorado AIM offers deal on Columbus Day parade (10/04)
Denver mayor 'sick and tired' of Columbus Day protest (9/29)
Column: Columbus Day is only a parade for protesters (01/28)
Column: Columbus Day protesters overreacting (1/27)
Editorial: Law should protect Columbus Day parade (1/26)
Columbus Day parade likened to cross-burning (1/26)
Denver forced to end Columbus Day protest cases (1/25)
Column: Columbus Day parade is not 'hate speech' (1/25)
Denver won't drop case against Columbus protesters (1/24)
Columbus Day protesters acquitted in Denver (1/21)
Natives changing perspective on 'Indian' holidays (11/10)
Opinion: Be proud of Wal-Mart, and Columbus too (10/15)
Letter: Indians better off thanks to Columbus (10/14)
Native students don't celebrate Columbus Day (10/12)
Column: Columbus ignored as Natives persevere (10/11)
Editorial: It's that time of the year (Columbus Day) (10/08)
Column: It's wrong to compare Columbus to Hitler (10/07)
Columbus Day protesters seek day in court(1/14)
Were terrorists plotting on Columbus Day? (10/17)
Columbus Day not a celebration for all (10/15)
Letters: Columbus Day marches and more (10/15)
Another year, another Columbus Day (10/14)
You can't stop the Italians! (10/11)
It's Columbus Day, Be nice to the Italians! (10/10)
Editorial: Be nice to the Italians (10/9)
Another year, Another Columbus Day (10/7)
Columbus Day events given permits (7/17)
Cost of Columbus Day topping $100,000 (10/9)
Italians to boycott Columbus Day (9/19)
Columbus Day started in Colorado (9/10)
'Columbus' may be dropped from parade (8/29)
Event is not Columbus protest, says group (7/17)
Columbus Day battle brews (7/12)
Italians celebrate Columbus Day early (7/11)
Group awarded Columbus Day permit (7/10)
Peaceful protest greets parade (10/9)