Columbus should not be commemmorated for ‘discovery’ of America
Letter to the Editor
I wanted to congratulate The Daily Targum for its editorial on the so-called “Columbus Day” titled “Columbus Day is not a celebration.” As early as 1992, the City Council of Berkeley, Calif. voted to celebrate this day as “Indigenous People’s Day” and other progressive communities around the United States have been following suit, sometimes using the term “Native Americans Day.” As you say, Columbus didn’t discover anything.
And even if it comforts some to think that a European “discovered” America (rather than the indigenous people who had been here for thousands of years), we have archeological evidence that Norsemen, led by Leif Erikson, had been here 500 years before Columbus. Not to mention that as many as 10 million indigenous people may have died from diseases, for which they had no immunity, brought by Columbus and his men. I am delighted the Targum has joined a growing national movement to commemorate those people who were exploited, abused and murdered beginning on this day, not the perpetrators of these evils.
Michael Aaron Rockland is a professor in the Department of American Studies.