Franchesca Ramsey, host of MTV’s Decoded, released a new video today highlighting the lesser-known problematic history of Christopher Columbus. As well, she touches on how Anadarko, Oklahoma was the latest city to stop celebrating “Columbus Day,” instead renaming it “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” To answer the question of why, she counts down some of the more horrifying reasons as to why Columbus doesn’t deserve his own holiday.
Columbus’ explorations shared a lot of qualities with that of the conquistadors, which is to say there was a significant edge of brutality to their colonial practices. While many of them attempted to expand their colonies through the church (while eradicating indigenous cultures and religions), still more of them resorted to extreme violence and horrifying acts performed against the very vulnerable indigenous populations.
Primarily, Columbus and his crew took part in the murder and rape of a great many native people, including men, women, and even children. History has also shown that it wasn’t Columbus who first discovered America, but rather it was the Vikings — that is, if you can call arriving in a place that already has people on it “discovering” it to begin with. In any case, Columbus landed on the present day Caribbean Islands. So, while his trips were responsible for subsequent Spanish colonization in the Americas, he barely set foot in the Americas, and only did that in his later voyages.
Ramsey lists some very compelling reasons as to why “Columbus Day” is both a disrespectful and inappropriate name for today’s holiday. It would indeed, be more accurate to call today “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” and one hopes that this video can help illustrate why that is.
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