Should Columbus Day Be Recast As Exploration Day?
We love our holidays, but whether Columbus should be personally celebrated is a matter of debate, thus “Tom Diehl, Karl Frank and Dr. Rod Wright are suggesting that Columbus Day — which wasn’t officially recognized federally until 1937 — be rededicated as ‘Exploration Day, thus calling attention to the spirit of not only Columbus’ exploits but also of all those that came after… and all who are yet to come.”
Frank says, “Rededicating Columbus Day as Exploration Day will allow those who wish to commemorate his accomplishments to continue doing so.But for those who find Columbus’s role in history disquieting, it will enable them to celebrate the day in a very different way. Exploration Day covers the depth and breath of America’s rich history of exploration, research and discovery. Thus, Exploration Day will be something that unites rather than divides.”
Columbus, after all, is a controversial figure:
Columbus and his teams treated the indigenous groups they came across as obstacles to their greater mission. There are three main sources of controversy involving Columbus’s interactions with the indigenous people he labeled “Indians”: the use of violence and slavery, the forced conversion of native peoples to Christianity, and the introduction of a host of new diseases that would have dramatic long-term effects on native people in the Americas. Historians have uncovered extensive evidence of the damage wreaked by Columbus and his teams, leading to an outcry over emphasis placed upon studying and celebrating him in schools and public celebrations.